Receiving a terminal diagnosis can be an overwhelming experience. Here are some suggestions to help you deal with end-of-life issues with sensitivity and care.
Consider completing a Five Wishes document, a straight-forward, compassionate planning document that helps individuals let their families and doctors know what they want and do not want at the end of their lives. For additional information and to download a copy of the form, see http://www.agingwithdignity.org/five-wishes.php.
Hospice personnel are uniquely qualified to help patients and families deal with the myriad thoughts and feelings that arise as one approaches death. Contact your local hospice organization for information about in-home care, hospice facilities, and other options and to learn how they will work with your health care provider.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) is dedicated to promoting and maintaining quality care for terminally ill persons and their families, and to making hospice an integral part of the US health care system. See their very comprehensive website at http://nhpco.org
Life Quality Institute in Denver, Colorado offers a wealth of information and links to many supportive organizations. This page from their website is especially useful http://www.lifequalityinstitute.org/resources/supportive-organizations
Dying Well: Peace and Possibilities at the End of Life by Ira Byock. New York: Riverhead Books, 1997.
Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley. New York: Bantam, 1997.
Final Journeys: A Practical Guide for Bringing Care and Comfort at the End of Life by Maggie Callanan. New York: Bantam, 2009.
Grace and Grit: Spirituality and Healing in the Life and Death of Treya Killam Wilber, 2nd ed. by Ken Wilber. Boston: Shambala Publications, 2000.
Life After Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon–Survival of Bodily Death by Raymond Moody. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.
Necessary Losses: The loves, illusions, dependencies, and impossible expectations that all of us have to give up in order to grow by Judith Viorst. New York: The Free Press, 2002.
On Death and Dying: What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy, and their own families by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. New York: Scribner, 1969.
On Life After Death by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. Berkeley, CA; Celestial Arts, 2008.
Saved by the Light: The True Story of the Man Who Died Twice and the Profound Revelations He Received by Dannion Brinkley and Paul Perry. New York: HarperCollins, 2008.
Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death by Irvin Yalom. San Francisco: Josey-Bass, 2008.
Talking About Death by Virginia Morris. New York: Algonquin Books, 2004.
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.
The Wheel of Life: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. New York: Touchstone, 1997.