Understanding life-prolonging treatments

Understanding life-prolonging treatments

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Last updated:
11/07/2021

“If you have a serious illness, you may be wondering if life-prolonging treatments are the best choice for you. You may also be thinking about when to stop them. There are many things to consider when making this decision, such as your illness and the side effects of treatment, but that’s where this article comes in!

The goal of this article is to help people understand what factors might influence their decision on whether or not they should use life-prolonging treatments. For instance, it will discuss how some patients might prefer palliative care over life-prolonging treatments because it focuses on pain relief and quality of life instead of prolonging life. It will also talk about some ethical issues surrounding life-prolonging treatments. It is very important to understand these issues so you can make the best possible decisions about your health and your care.

ENCOURAGING CHOICES THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFE

The decision to stop or continue life-prolonging treatments has major implications for the quality of your life.

How is quality of life determined?

The ‘quality of life’ is a term used to describe how well you are living every day, how healthy and comfortable you are in general. It is not always easy to measure your quality of life, but there are some good ways to get a sense of it. For example, you could ask yourself questions like:

  • Am I happy and content with my life?
  • Do I feel safe and secure?
  • Do I have the same desires as I did before getting sick?
  • Can I still do most of the things I wanted to do before getting sick?

In general, if you find that you are living a ‘good’ or ‘high’ quality life despite your health problem(s), then that should probably be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not you want to continue receiving life-prolonging treatments.

OBTAINING THE BEST INFORMATION AND DRAWING YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS

How to decide about life-prolonging treatments?

There are many things that you will want to consider when deciding whether or not life-prolonging treatments should be used. But before you can make a decision, you need the facts about your illness and the side effects of treatment yourself, since too much information can sometimes cause confusion. It is important to learn from these facts as well as from trusted sources like health professionals or other people who are in similar situations. It is also important to ask questions, read and research further. That way you will have the best understanding of your illness and treatment decision.

While you are still able to work, the results of your research usually come faster than when you are unable to work. You should probably take the time required for researching so that when you reach the point where life-prolonging treatments are no longer an option, then you will be certain about what course of action you want to take. Remember that it is better to know the facts before you make a decision.

You should also do all that you can to heal yourself. That means taking medication, healthy food, and healthy living habits and going to see a professional may also be necessary. The first step is always important in getting better, even if it takes longer than you expected. Heading up the treatment will save you from unnecessary suffering during your illness and when deciding on whether or not to live-prolong. As it is, a lot of people don’t have the information to help them make better decisions for themselves.

The decision, no matter which way it goes, needs to be up to the patient. No one else should make that decision for you. They may think they know what is best for you, but this can be even more harmful if they don’t understand the situation enough to understand why they would or wouldn’t want treatment in their place if they had your condition. You need to know that you are making the right decision and speaking with a healthcare professional can give you some insight into whether or not treatment is right for you and what other alternatives are out there in order to increase your life expectancy.”

You may want to have a say in this decision, or you may simply want to follow your doctor’s recommendation. Either way, our interactive tool Advance Care Planning: Should I Stop Treatment That Prolongs My Life? will help you understand what your choices are so that you can talk to your doctor about them.