Planning a Home Death – Five Simple Questions

With 916,000 baby boomers currently living in British Columbia coupled with most of us wanting to die in the comfortable and familiar surroundings of our own homes we have some planning to do!

Now lets be clear dying at home is not for each and every one of us even though that may be our wish. My dear brother Peter had his home in Creston, BC all set up for his home death he and his wife April had planned for him. As his health deteriorated and his care became even more complex the Butterfly Room at the Creston General Hospital became his new home. Though home death is not for everyone it is a viable solution for many more folks than we would imagine.

So what are some of the important things we need to discuss? Here are five questions that can lead your conversations;

How do we care for the primary care giver?

Oftentimes in home care situations the primary caregiver fall prey to illness directly as a result of carrying the burden of the care responsibilities. Can we create a family schedule that ensures the care load is shared and no family member burns out?

What does the one dying need and want?

A conversation with the family member dying regarding their wants and needs is important in order for the family to set up an appropriate care plan.

What outside support will we need?

Check with your local community services society for such services as volunteer drivers, home support, and home nursing care. There are in fact more resources in your community than you may first imagine.

Is our home ready and safe for all of us?

There are professional organizations that will do a safety check of your family home to make certain it is safe for everyone. Stairways, doorways, carpets, kitchen and bathrooms may all need some form of renovation to make the space safe for both the individual ageing and dying and those that provide hands on care. Stairwell chair systems and walk-in bathtubs are two examples.

Do we have our end of life paperwork handled?

Along with powers of attorney, wills, representation agreements and advanced care directives you would be well served to obtain and complete and expected letter of death in the home which can be obtained from your family doctor. This important letter removes the necessity of calling 911 when your loved ones does pass. You can confirm this with your family’s funeral director too.