Compassion and Support


Patients & Families

Discuss Your Wishes

 View the Community Conversations on Compassionate Care Video
Your doctor and the other health care professionals that are caring for you when you are seriously ill or dying may play an important part in helping to assure that your wishes and desires are understood and met. It is helpful to speak to your doctor and other key health care professionals ahead of time about what is important to you. At that time, ask them questions about the kind of support you think you may need and whether they think that they could provide this support to you.

You have a right to participate in the planning of your health care even if you lose the capacity to make decisions. An Advance Directive gives you the ability to exercise this right. Physicians have a legal, moral, and professional responsibility to assure this right is honored.

Below are the types of questions some individuals have asked their doctors and other health care professionals.
  • Will you acquaint yourself with the social norms of my culture and religion and respect these?
  • Will you talk openly with me and/or my family about my illness?
  • What will you do if I have a lot of pain or other uncomfortable symptoms?
  • Will you let me know if treatment stops working so that my family and I can make appropriate decisions?
  • Will you support me in having my pain properly managed and in getting hospice care?
  • What will you do to make sure that you always listen to me and/or my family?
  • If I reach a point where I am too sick to speak for myself, how will you make decisions about my care?
  • Will you still be available to me even when I'm sick and close to the end of my life?

Listen to NPR's Diane Rehm speak with NY Times Columnist Jane Brody about Death & Dying and the Importance of Having a Conversation
National Public Radio, Aired Feb. 23, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.
(Windows Media Player