Guide to end of life conversations with adolescents and young adults

Categories: Care.
A survey of 52 adolescents and young adults living with a life-threatening illness found that they want to be able to choose and record:
  • the kind of medical treatment they want and do not want
  • how they would liked to be cared for
  • information for their family and friends to know
  • how they would like to be remembered.
‘Voicing My Choices’ includes the topics that were identified as most important by young people. It also incorporates other recommendations from the study, such as using developmentally appropriate language, clarification of medical concepts, and the inclusion of friends in planning advance directives. 
The guide is based on the ‘Five Wishes’ advance directive (created by Aging with Dignity), which has been used by more than 18 million adults in the United Sates.
Aging with Dignity president, Paul Malley, said: “Living with a serious illness and approaching the end of life is always difficult, but the challenges are even greater when the patient is young…sometimes the standard advance care planning documents don’t meet all the needs of younger patients. That’s why Voicing My Choices was created.”
The guide is based on findings from researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), published in the journal Pediatrics in June 2012.  
More information on Voicing My Choices can be found on the Aging with Dignity website.

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