Impatient | Helping make the health care system work for you
Health

Let's talk more about the #endoflife



John Moore/Getty Images

We've been talking about the end of life a lot recently - on this blog, on KPCC's Facebook page, and with our Public Insight Network sources.

It's not because we're fatalistic and depressing! Rather, it's because doctors, experts, and many of you agree that these conversations are vital to ensuring quality of life and - death.

So, let's keep the conversation going. Below, check out some of what we've heard from our friends on Facebook and the Public Insight Network.

Then, on June 26, join KPCC’s Health Care Correspondent Stephanie O'Neill and a terrific panel in the Crawford Family Forum as they explore how culture and circumstance affect our approach to end-of-life conversations. (More details can be found here, and at the end of this post.)

You can continue the conversation on social media using #endoflife.

Why are so few people talking about death?

"Because people are too scared to realize that it's coming for them. For your consciousness to just cease to exist can be too terrifying for some to accept." – Mario Alexander Carrasco

"A taboo subject in the land of 'forever young.' Other countries view it as a part of life." – Fay Aldridge

"I have no problem talking about it… but my children do. Both of my parents 'gifted' me with having pre-need burial/cremation plans completely paid for. There was some business to tend to but no guessing what they might have wanted. I’m in the process of planning my end of life (I'm 68) as a gift to my children. It's given me a sense of peace… and permission to live the rest of my life with joy." – Dawn Sorenson

What are your beliefs about end-of-life medical treatment? 

"I believe it's up to each individual as to when, where, and how they will die. If they don't want intervention, they don't have to have it. In fact, it's incredibly disrespectful to force intervention on anybody." - Susette Horspool 

"Can't speak for others, but for me, do everything possible to keep me going.  Love life too much.  I believe that a cure for anything from the common cold to the incurable is around the corner." – Timothy Wahl 

"I have worked in the healthcare field for 30+ years. I just helped my mother through her wishes to have no heroics performed at the end of her life, and she died with dignity. Although when I made my health care directives years ago I chose the same wishes for myself, I was not so sure about them until mom died." – Susan Medel

"I do not want resuscitation or life support if I am suffering and near death.  I keep an Advance Directive for Health Care near the front door where it is easy for my wife or daughter to show any ambulance or ER personnel." – Jim Rea

How, if at all, have your views changed?

"My views on dying have not changed much in the past ten years - it is just that back then the real and imminent threat of death was not a pressing thing; just like the 20 and 30 year olds that do not consider they need health insurance today. As the event approaches, I am more concerned that I have a say in what happens and when it happens." – Anthony Colleraine

"Not at all... except to be MORE adamant that people take charge not only of their lives, but of their demise as well." – Elin Pendleton

"Yes, I've become more in favor of euthanasia.  I also have become in favor of at-will euthanasia (that is, painless suicide), and believe it would be a compassionate option to give people." – Sarah Wells

"While medical technology continues to change, the basic issues are still the same for me: 1) is there reasonable/realistic chance of recovery? 2) are medical professionals following the express wishes of the patient in an advance directive?" – Rex Wignall

As promised, more about that great event:

Along with Stephanie O'Neill, the guests include:

Dr. Esiquio Casillas, Regional Medical Director for the Program for All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and Senior Services at AltaMed Health Services.

Gloria Nava, Medical Social Worker at Sanctuary Hospice.

Yutaka Niihara, president and CEO OF Emmaus Medical, Inc., and professor of medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Division of Medical Oncology/Hematology Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

It's in the Crawford Family Forum, 474 S. Raymond Ave., in Pasadena. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the program begins at 7 p.m. The event is free, but you must RSVP here.

Have you and your loved ones had an end-of-life conversation? Are you faced with having this conversation, and having a hard time doing it? Has your doctor played a role? What would you tell people who still haven’t talked about their wishes and preferences for the end of life?

Tell us in the comments section or email us at impatient@scpr.org. You can also share your experiences with end-of-life care with our Public Insight Network.