Senior Center

The Troubles with End of Life Counseling

By Megan C @ LivingSenior - June 20, 2012

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President Obama inadvertently raised several questions with his controversial healthcare bill and senior health. A very controversial topic was end of life counseling. The proposed bill raises concerns about what end of life counseling is and if the counseling causes patients to turn away from necessary healthcare. How do you face the troubles with end of life counseling without eliminating the care that the counseling provides?

What is End of Life Counseling?

End of life counseling is designed to help patients who are facing decesions about final legal, financial and health arrangements. In essence, the counseling sessions are there to make sure that residents or patients understand all of their alternatives and make the choice that fits their personalized needs.

What does End of Life Counseling Include?

End of life counseling includes all aspects of the end of someone’s life. Financial planning, living wills, burial choices, remaining bills and the family members and loved ones being left behind are all part of the counseling sessions. An additional key element discussed during these sessions are healthcare options and alternatives. An example would be with a patient fighting the end stages of Cancer. Alternatives may include non-chemical treatments, natural treatments, meditation, prayer and full blown medical treatments with continued hospital stays. All of these are discussed during counseling sessions.

Why is There Controversy?

The controversy started in the medical industry. There are several health professionals who feel that the counseling leads patients to move away from traditional medicine or new medical discoveries that may ease pain, cure illnesses or allow them to live longer. The professional counselors feel that they are simply offering all of the possible alternatives for a patient to make the right choice for them.

Is End of Life Counseling Necessary?

The choice to participate in End of Life counseling is a personal choice for each patient. It is not required by any law or by any community. However, this is also part of the controversy regarding this type of counseling. Should it be removed from insurance coverage or should it be part of all insurance coverage and made mandatory for a healthcare plan? That choice is still in the air, but for now it remains an independent choice.

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