Advance care planning, support the dying, power of attorney

After my Mum moved into a hospice, her health started to decline really quickly.

It was really tough to watch, knowing that the end was approaching.  Her periods of lucidity were becoming less and less.  Because of this, I had to make sure that I was across everything as I, along with a sibling, had Mum’s medical power of attorney.  The other sibling was interstate, so I was the one with the responsibility.

Advance care planning, support the dying, power of attorney

A Medico who thought he was God

We had one medical professional who wanted Mum to undergo some more chemotherapy.  Now, Mum had chosen to cease this some weeks before and I knew it was something she did not want.  It would also mean moving her from the hospice, to an ambulance, to a hospital for the treatment and then returning through all that again.  Now, just getting Mum to the hospice 5 days earlier had taken a toll on her and she had declined a lot in those 5 days since.  This was not something that was going to happen and it was up to me to make sure of that.

Advance care planning, support the dying, power of attorney

So I had to stand my ground…for my Mum

I said to the specialist that there was no way that Mum was going to be undergoing more chemotherapy and that I had her Power of Attorney.  He said that it would be her decision as she was lucid and he also indicated that he didn’t think she was at the end of her life.  I made it clear that he had managed to speak with her in one of her few moments of lucidity and if he didn’t believe me to check with the other medical staff, but there was no way she was having the chemo.  He finally backed off as he could see that I wasn’t going to relent.  Mum died peacefully 6 days later.

Advance care planning, support the dying, power of attorney

This was only able to happen for a few reasons :

  • Mum had the necessary legal paperwork to authorise me to speak on her behalf
  • I was well aware of what Mum’s wishes were because we had numerous conversations about what she did and didn’t want
  • I was committed and determined to ensure that my Mum’s wishes were met

It was so important to me to be able to ensure that Mum’s wishes were met, that she had the good death that she wanted.  A lot of the time through an experience like this, watching a loved one die, you can feel helpless and powerless.  This was one of the few things that I could actually make happen and that was pretty special.

Advance care planning, support the dying, power of attorney

Would your loved ones be able to do this for you? 

Are they legally empowered to speak for you?  Do they know your wishes?  If not, you might want to consider these Advance Care Planning Workshops.  They are designed to get this all sorted quickly and easily, so you don’t have to worry.

Click here for further information.