Putting a Price on End-of-Life Care
There’s a perception that end-of-life costs are higher in the United States than in other countries. But while end-of-life care and funeral arrangements are expensive here, they are comparable to Europe and Canada. Without careful planning, however, these costs can still be a burden on families.
Fortunately, it’s possible to be proactive and cut costs.
- Don’t avoid talking about death. It can be a difficult topic, but death is something families should discuss. If your family is well informed about your wishes and kept abreast of important information and where it’s stored, they’ll be better able to manage your end-of-life arrangements, saving time and possibly money. If you take the next step by preplanning well in advance, you can knock down costs by locking in today’s prices for a future need.
- Talk about what would happen in case of illness or accident before it happens — and prepare an advance directive. When your loved ones know when you would want to let go, they can make better-informed decisions. Medical care is expensive, so make sure they know if there are measures that should be taken to extend your life.
- Ask questions of your loved one’s doctor. Sometimes, families can be overly optimistic about costly treatments that they think will prolong a loved one’s life. If you are caring for someone who is ill, ask the physician to tell you the truth of what you and your family are facing.
- Talk to others who have been down this road. People who have been through what you’re going through now may be able to answer some of your tough questions. Which interventions are helpful, and which are not worth the cost and the trauma? It depends on the illness and condition of the person at the end of his or her life. CPR, for instance, is a life-saving measure, but it can also cause blunt-force trauma in elderly patients — and studies have shown that only 6% of cancer patients who receive CPR recover enough to leave the hospital.
- Don’t be afraid to shop around for palliative care. Some palliative care and hospice services are covered through Medicare. Others can be quite expensive. Be an informed consumer, and thoroughly research your options before making a commitment.
At Evergreen, we understand the importance of making good end-of-life decisions. Call 520.257.4831 to learn more about all we have to offer.