In recent months, America has witnessed three public figures choose comfort care in their last days of life: Barbara Bush, Aretha Franklin and Senator John McCain. Although we don’t know exactly when during the course of their illness they chose to suspend curative treatment, we do know that each of them wanted to spend their last days at home with those they love. Saying “goodbye” to friends and family was important to each of them. The families also recognized the need for the public to have an opportunity to mourn the loss of their loved one and express condolences. Their wishes echo the mission of hospice – to live each day to its fullest and make every moment count. It’s also about honoring how the patient wants to spend this time in their life.
Making decisions about how you want to live the end of your life is not always easy. When public figures share their intention, it gives everyone confidence to make important decisions in their journey as well. We encourage everyone to have these frank and open discussions with family members and physicians, and resources at NHDD.org can help jump-start that process.