Every day we are confronted with countless numbers of choices. Each one must be considered and decisions must be made. Should it be corn flakes or bran? Maybe fruit today? Should I wear the blue shirt or the white one? Is this a good time to apply for that new position at work? Can I afford that new car or should I wait? So it goes…choices, big and small, and frequently some decisions are put off only to be reconsidered, yet again, tomorrow.
In most situations, we insist on making our own decisions and choices. As children, we attempted to make choices even if we knew our parents were the final decision-makers. As young adults, we considered choices and made decisions about college, our first job, moving away from home, getting married…. Even now, choice and decision-making occupy much of our daily routine.
Life is, indeed, all about the choices we make. Interestingly, however, one of the most important of life’s decisions is often made for us…leaving us with little or no opportunity for choice. Choices at the end of life are, all too often, deferred to others…especially when it comes to making choices regarding our medical options, including hospice.
It’s safe to say that most people would probably choose not to need a hospice program at all. But the choice of having or not having a life-limiting illness is seldom in our power. When we are confronted with a decision about hospice, many will defer to others who are all too willing to make the decision for us. Unfortunately, their choices are often based not on our wishes or goals but on their own preferences and conveniences, no matter how well-intentioned they may be.
Perhaps we’re more comfortable letting someone else make the decision because it seems less “real” that way? Or, maybe we feel less vulnerable when we don’t have to make the decision for ourselves. However, the choice of how we wish to live out our lives can only be ours. So, too, is the choice of which hospice we want to help us meet our life goals and to protect our vulnerability while facing life’s final reality—only ours.
We make many choices during our lifetime. Shouldn’t we also have choice when it comes to the end of life? If hospice becomes the most appropriate medical option for us, we must make our own choices.
And if we choose hospice, finding the right hospice requires us to make informed decisions using, at the very least, the same sensible approach we would when deciding to take a new job or buy a new car. To make an informed decision, it’s important to compare hospice programs and services that are available to us. We must decide for ourselves which hospice is best suited to care for us and help us achieve our goals at the end of our lives.
If you are facing a life-limiting situation and need help in identifying your options and making decisions about your care, please contact us for assistance. Or visit www.caringinfo.org or call the HelpLine at 800-658-8898.