Everyday we are confronted with countless numbers of choices. Each must be con-sidered and decisions must be made. Should it be corn flakes or bran? Maybe fruit today? Is this a good time to apply for that new position at work? Should I wear the blue shirt or the white one today? Can I afford that new car or should I wait? So it goes… choices, big and small, and frequently some decisions are put off only to be reconsidered, yet again, the next day.

In most situations, we insist on making our own decisions and choices. Even as children, we attempted to make our choices known even if our parents were the final decision-makers. As young adults, we considered choices and made decisions about college, our first job, moving away from home, getting married…it seemed there were a number of choices to be considered and decisions to be made. Even now, choice and decision-making occupy much of our daily routine.

Indeed, life is all about the choices we make. Interestingly, however, one of the most important of life’s decisions is often made for us by others…leaving us with little or no opportunity for choice. Choices at the end of life are, all too often, deferred to others…especially when it comes to making choices regarding medical options, including hospice.

Certainly, most of us would probably choose not to need a hospice program at all. But, when confronted with having to make this decision, many will, all too eagerly, defer to others who are all too willing to make the decision for us. Unfortunately, their choices are often based not on our wishes or goals, but on their own preferences and conveniences, no matter how well-intentioned they may wish to be.

Our healthcare providers and health insurers make many sound decisions in the course of providing our care. It would only seem reasonable to allow them to make choices for us about hospice. However, their involvement in this decision-making process should not preclude our uniquely personal choices in the matter. Perhaps we’re more comfortable letting someone else make the decision because it seems less “real” that way? Or, maybe we feel less vulnerable when we don’t have to make the decision for ourselves. However, the choice of how we wish to live out our lives can only be ours. So, too, is the choice of which hospice we want to help us meet our life goals and to protect our vulnerability while facing life’s final reality only ours.

We make so many choices during our lifetimes. Shouldn’t we also have choice when it comes to the end of life? If hospice becomes the most appropriate medical option for us, it is imperative we exercise our individual choices. There are many hospice programs available. Finding the right one requires that we make informed decisions using, at the very least, the same sensible approach we did when we decided to take that new job or to buy that new car. We must insist on choice, comparing hospice programs and services available to us one against the other, in order to determine, for ourselves, which one is best suited to caring for us and helping us achieve our life goals.

If you are being confronted by life-limiting circumstances and need help in identifying your choices and making decisions about your options, please contact Lighthouse Hospice Inc. at 1-888-HOSPICE or, visit for a free consultation.


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