“These are hard conversations…”
Talking with terminally ill patients about their situations is hard. Every person is unique, and each situation is different. Dr. Atul Gawande, surgeon and The New Yorker contributor, discovered four questions every doctor should ask a terminally ill patient to help with this process. We don’t think you need to be a doctor to ask these questions. Family members can ask these same questions of a terminally ill loved one.
4 Things to Ask Every Terminally Ill Person:
- Do you know your prognosis? If not, the person deserves the most honest answer possible. Find out the prognosis from the person’s health care provider and have an honest conversation about it.
- What are your fears about what is to come? People with terminal conditions need to know the truth about what they are facing. They also need reassurance from people with expertise in these matters who can guide them through their fears and help minimize unnecessary anxieties.
- What would you like to accomplish as time runs short? What are your goals for the remainder of your life? Knowing what is important to the person can help you guide them through some of the tough decisions they will have to make – and help you understand why they are making them.
- What are you willing to trade off for the possibility of added time? Are you willing to suffer more pain and discomfort for the sake of living longer? Some people prefer quality over quantity while others want to live as long as possible regardless of the consequences.