It can be helpful to discuss this with the person you are caring for early on in their illness, and to talk about it on a regular basis. The earlier you discuss these issues, the more prepared you will be for them if they arise and you will know what to do in different situations. It can also help to put the person’s mind at ease.
If the person you’re caring for wants you to make decisions about their care if they’re unable to, you will need to be given power of attorney to do so. Otherwise decisions, such as whether or not to resuscitate, are made by the doctor. If you’re unsure, ask the person you’re caring for exactly which decisions they would like you to be involved with.
Sometimes it can be difficult to make decisions because other people, such as family members, wish to be involved. Or you may not want to be involved in making decisions at all. Every person and relationship is different. Use your own judgement and rely on the trust that exists between you and the person you are caring for. If you keep an open dialogue going, it can help if the time comes to make such decisions.
It can also help to have an open and frank discussion with the professionals involved in the care of the person you are looking after. If you are consulted about their care and treatment, it’s important that you know what the procedures involve and how these will affect them. It can be helpful to speak to their doctor to get expert medical information and advice.
When decisions have to be made, engage with those around you and make sure everyone is in agreement. The professionals around you can be a source of support as well.