St. Joseph Hospice Resources

Hard Choices

HardChoices.com provides the following information for professionals, patients and their families regarding end-of-life decisions. Please visit their webiste for more information or contact your local St. Joseph Hospice:

"Hard Choices" covers the most common medical treatment decisions faced by those who are living with a life-threatening illness. CPR (resuscitation efforts), artificial feeding, hospitalization of an ill person and shifting to a hospice approach are all considered in depth. Besides these most common treatment decisions, there are sections on ventilators, dialysis, antibiotics and pain control. Also, at the end of the chapters on CPR, Artificial Feeding and Comfort Care/Hospice there is a section on making these treatment choices for children. This book is not just for the elderly but for anyone facing a life-threatening illness.

The text is footnoted with almost 100 references to medical research. Here are just a few of issues discussed. CPR continues to be of little help to three categories of patients: those with multiple diagnoses; those with a terminal illness; and those who do not live independently. Recent research has confirmed what many in healthcare have suspected that feeding tubes are not beneficial and can even be harmful to advanced dementia patients. Other studies found that 50% of advanced dementia patients who are hospitalized for a hip fracture or pneumonia die within six months as compared to 13% of noncognitively impaired patients. The section on pain control is written to help patients and families understand how pain is effectively controlled. Among other points, the section clearly states that patients cannot become addicted to pain medications and that slowly increased doses of narcotics cannot kill a patient, no matter how high the dose.

The final chapter, "The Journey to Letting Go," explores the emotional and spiritual issues patients and families confront as they consider the end of life. In Chaplain Dunn's opinion, these are the issues that make end-of-life decisions so difficult."

Please visit HardChoices.com to learn more and order "Hard Choices for Loving People." You may also use our contact form or call your local St. Joseph Hospice for more information.

Download the PDF read-only document here.

  • Hard Choices

    "Hard Choices" covers the most common medical treatment decisions faced by those who are living with a life-threatening illness. CPR (resuscitation efforts), artificial feeding, hospitalization of an ill person and shifting to a hospice approach are all considered in depth. ...

    Learn More

  • 5 Wishes

    The Five Wishes document helps you express how you want to be treated if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself. It is unique among all other living will and health agent forms because it looks to all of a person's needs: medical, personal, emotional and spiritual.

    Learn More

  • Carpenter Health Network

    For the fight in all of us, for the families who won't give in, and for the survivors we all are, we are The Carpenter Health Network, and we believe in the expectation of tomorrow -- the foundation of hope that guides us every day, in everything we do.

    Learn More

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