Living Will, Living Well

Using the voices of ordinary people, clinical ethicist and nurse Dianne Godkin explores the end-of-life issues and emotions that arise when an individual sets out to prepare an advance directive (living will). Conversations with study participants, and the composite character of Alice, are forthright, practical, and uplifting. Written for individuals and their families who are thinking about creating an advance directive, and for healthcare providers who interact with these individuals, this book provides readers with a deeper understanding of the experience of preparing for the end of life.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Front Cover 1
Title Page 4
Copyright 5
Contents 6
Foreword 8
Acknowledgements 10
Encountering Death and Dying: Introduction 12
Reflecting on an Uneasy Death 13
Honouring Martha's Legacy 14
Asking the Questions 16
Defining the Terms 17
Tracing the History 19
Exploring the Benefits and Barriers 20
Setting the Stage 23
Introducing Alice 23
1 Protecting Self and Others 26
Noticing Advance Directives 27
Focussing on the Future 33
Listening Attentively 34
Desiring Comfort and Peace 36
Experiencing the Death and Dying of a Loved One 40
Controlling Technology 44
Fostering Family Relationships 48
Preserving One's Identity 49
2 Facing One's Mortality 54
Meeting Death 55
Interacting with Death 58
Accepting Death 62
Disappearing Death 68
Living Life 71
Sitting Quietly 73
3 Talking About Death 76
Conversing at the Dinner Table 77
Joking About Death 80
Widening the Discussion 82
Considering a Parent's Death 85
Imposing Limits on the Discussion 88
Talking to No One 89
4 Choosing an Ally 92
Naming an Agent 93
Selecting the Best Agent 97
Trusting Your Agent 102
5 Getting it Done 106
Gathering Information 107
Personalizing the Data 111
Writing and Rewriting 114
Keeping it Simple 118
Following the Rules 119
Reflecting on the Process 121
Looking Toward the Future 123
Closing Thoughts: Conclusion 126
Reconsidering Expectations 127
Summarizing Key Findings 128
Messages for Healthcare Consumers 129
Specific Challenges for Healthcare Providers 131
Apprehending Death 137
Reference List 140
Appendix A: Guiding Interview Questions 148
Appendix B: Sample Advance Directive 150
Appendix C: Legislative Guidelines 154
Appendix D: Educational Resources 158
Index 162