How-to Prepare for a Loved One’s End of Life

Use Special Care with Children

If children must be told about a loved one’s End of Life, use sensitivity and make special considerations. Ask appropriate medical or hospital professionals, trusted friends who have children, a minister or spiritual advisor, or a licensed clinical social worker or child psychologist to help you address the sensitive issues of death, loss and grief.

Note: Visit: for more information and resources on talking with loved ones, including youth, teens and adult children when a loved one is nearing End of Life.

Help Manage Documents and Tasks

There are important decisions that your loved one will need to make as they near End of Life, including healthcare, financial, legal, funeral and other personal considerations.

Hopefully your loved one has made these decisions in advance. Helping them manage End of Life activities helps removes the decision-making burden from family members and can ensure that your loved one’s final wishes are honored after they pass away.

  • Prepare an Advanced Healthcar e Directive (AHD) or Medical Power of Attorney
    These legal documents provide direction for what kind of treatment a person wants if they become unable to make their own decisions.
  • Choose Legal Representatives
    Your loved one may consider appointing legal guardians for minor children, a healthcare proxy or healthcar e agent or a financial power of attor ney (FPOA) to make healthcare decisions or act on financial matters.
  • Prepare a Will
    A will can outline your loved one’s final wishes for their funeral services and for distributing their financial and digital assets after their death.
  • Complete a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order
    A DNR prevents medical personnel from doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to save or prolong a life.
  • Complete a Physicians Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
    A POLST is a physician-signed order that becomes part of an official medical record and explains a person’s wishes for End of Life care.
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