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Delaware State News Commentary: End-of-life planning moves to the forefront

An excerpt from the Delaware State News commentary, “End-of-life planning moves to the forefront,” by Compassion & Choices President and CEO Kim Callinan, published April 15, 2020:


Thousands of Americans have died from coronavirus, with countless heartbreaking stories.

Many families have been separated from a loved one who dies alone in a hospital bed. Health systems are making unfathomable decisions about rationing the limited supply of ventilators. Families are left to make spur-of-the-moment, life-altering decisions about the care of a loved one, despite having never discussed their loved one’s preferences.

There is unprecedented and urgent need for people to engage in informed, educated end-of-life care discussions. If more individuals take charge of their end-of-life care wishes, fewer doctors and loved ones will be forced to make gut-wrenching, life- and death-decisions for coronavirus patients.

That is why on April 16, National Healthcare Decision Day, Compassion & Choices is calling on Americans to take charge of their end-of-life care plans. This call to action is not limited to completing an advanced directive and identifying a healthcare proxy who will fulfill your end-of-life care wishes if you are unable to speak for yourself; it’s also about contemplating the care you would want if you contract the life-threatening coronavirus.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to end-of-life care decisions. A person who is already terminally ill may make a different healthcare decision than a healthy young person… provides free end-of-life care fact sheets and planning tools including a COVID-19-specific planning guide to help you navigate your care options, so that you can die on your own terms.

The only wrong answer with end-of-life care planning is failing to act. Taking action now will reduce the guilt and guesswork from caregiving for your loved ones and decrease the likelihood you will needlessly suffer when you die at life’s inevitable end.