Comfort Care and End of Life Planning

In the wake of the passing of Barbara Bush, a spotlight has been shone on comfort care. Although a public figure and leader on many fronts, the former first lady was more quiet about her long term struggle with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Those familiar with these conditions understand the toll they take on the quality of life in the later stages. Mrs. Bush sought comfort care, also known as palliative care, as well as end of life planning as she battled these late stages.

Comfort care has been around for decades. But what exactly does it mean?
What is “comfort care?”
Comfort care means simply that the suffering party has chosen to cease all medical interventions that may prolong their life. They instead opt for measures that keep them comfortable. In our modern age of medical technology there certainly exists many means of keeping us alive. Is this always wanted? In the case of Barbara Bush, those interventions were not her desire.

It’s good to remember that when a loved one makes the choice
of comfort care it doesn’t mean that they will be suffering.
Along with our modern medical interventions there is also very effective pain control medication. These thoughts wrap families in comfort themselves as they approach this important decision and the days that follow. For many who decide on comfort care they go under the care of a hospice organization. This can be ordered by the attending physician.

Understanding when it may be time
Deciding to make a comfort care declaration is often the choice of those with terminal illness. However, it can also be something a family faces after a catastrophic event. Auto accidents that result in comas are one such example. It is safe to say deciding on comfort care is never easy. In the case of Barbara Bush, she was coherent and able to make her wishes known herself. But that is not always the case. That is why having advance directives in place now is best to know up front your loved one’s wishes if the unthinkable were to happen.

End of life planning
The next step right after entering into comfort care is end of life planning. Medical professionals in your circle can help understand how long your loved one may have left depending on the condition. However, it’s best not to wait. As the process progresses emotions are high. Then it can be tough to make end of life planning decisions It’s best for everyone if the planning begins right away once comfort care is decided. The silver lining is often times that the sufferer helps in the planning if it starts soon. It brings peace to many to know the funeral wishes, arrangements and other details are exactly what their loved one wanted.

Your friends at Forest Lawn Funeral Home are here to help you with this difficult time. Please email us or give us a call with any questions you have.
Forest Lawn Funeral Home serves the Mobile, Alabama area with funeral and cremation services, grief support, pre-planning, and more.

Visit us online at! Call us anytime at (251) 675-0824 or connect with Forest Lawn Funeral Home on Facebook and Twitter!

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