Dying well

The last time I was in Israel, I went on some home visits with a palliative care physician in the town of Sfat near the Sea of Galilee. My colleague, a devout Jewish doctor, took me to several homes to offer advice on managing his most serious, terminally ill patients. One older Chassidic Rabbi was dealing with an advanced lung cancer, and having a difficult time accepting any kind of help from his young adult children.

Backgrounder: Advance care planning

Advance care planning is a process of reflection and communication about personal care preferences in the event that an individual becomes incapable of consenting to or refusing treatment or other care. The most important aspects of advance care planning are choosing one or more Substitute Decision Makers — someone who will speak on the individuals’ behalf and make decisions for them if they are not able to do so themselves.