End of Life Care | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

End of Life Care

Thinking about and planning for the end of life can be difficult for cancer patients and their families. However, discussing treatment choices and plans before the last days of life can make the process easier for both the patient and the family. Making major decisions can be very emotional but also can be a time of personal growth. Often this is a time when people have a chance to find out more about themselves and appreciate what is most important to them.

Planning for the end of life is easier when patients, families and the health care team talk openly together. Choices about cancer care and treatment at the end of life should be made while the patient is able to make them. Putting the decisions in writing ahead of time can make the patient’s wishes clear to the family and health care team when the time comes to make final choices.
End-of-life planning usually includes making decisions about

  • The goals of care
  • Where the patient wants to spend his or her final days
  • Which treatments for end-of-life care the patient wishes to receive
  • What type of palliative care or hospice care the patient wishes to receive
  • If and/or when the patient wants to stop treatments

A cancer patient may wish to receive all possible treatments, only some treatments or no treatment at all. These decisions may be written down ahead of time in an advance directive or living will. Advance directive is the general term for different types of legal documents that describe the treatment or care a patient wishes to receive or not receive when he or she is no longer able to speak his or her wishes. A living will is one type of document for specifying these wishes.

The patient may also wish to name a health care proxy, who makes health-related decisions for the patient should he or she become unable to do so. This can make it easier for family members and caregivers to fulfill the patient’s wishes in the last days or hours, such as whether to give nutritional support, restart the heart, help with breathing or give medicines.

Chaplain Services

Many patients rely on spiritual or religious beliefs to help them cope with cancer and the end of life. Each person has different spiritual needs. For some seriously ill patients, their spirituality may affect how they feel about the end of life and the decisions they make about their care.

The mission of the Norton Healthcare Pastoral Care Department is to promote spiritual health and provide timely, compassionate spiritual care and support to patients and their families. Our staff of chaplains is available to provide prayer, religious services, a listening ear and help with decision-making for patients and families of any or no religious denomination. Chaplains can be a comforting help to families making difficult choices.

Norton Cancer Institute Resource Centers

The Norton Cancer Institute Resource Centers are available to offer support and additional information about end-of-life planning. Find out more information or call (502) 629-5500.

Cancer – 4673

Appointments

Cancer care that isn’t too far from home.

(502) 629-HOPE (4673)


Request an Appointment Online

How to make colonoscopy prep easier

Colonoscopy prep is nothing to dread. Think of it as a good cleaning out with none of the pain or ill feelings you may associate with diarrhea. Planning ahead will make your colonoscopy prep easier. […]

Read Full Story

African Americans at higher risk for colorectal cancers, but screenings lag

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, African Americans have the highest rate of death and the shortest rate of survival for colorectal cancer. In fact, African Americans are 45% more likely than other groups […]

Read Full Story

Back from stage 3 ovarian cancer, Stephanie Virgin is a mom and thriving professional

Photo by Anna May Photography Stephanie Virgin was 29 and hoping to start a family, so ovarian cancer was the last thing on her mind — even when she experienced textbook symptoms. The Louisville native […]

Read Full Story

Surgeon’s mission trip takes expertise in women’s surgery to Nicaragua

Each year, more than 200 women are able to see David L. Doering, M.D., for issues requiring surgery for gynecologic cancers. A “Master Surgeon” as designated by the Surgical Review Corp., Dr. Doering uses minimally […]

Read Full Story

Lung screening catches woman’s cancer, avoids need for chemo or radiation

Margaret Taylor, 72, started smoking as a 14-year-old growing up in Tell City, Indiana. It became an addiction of at least a pack a day that lasted a total of 46 years. “Things were different […]

Read Full Story
Related Stories

How to make colonoscopy prep easier

Colonoscopy prep is nothing to dread. Think of it as a good cleaning out with none of the pain or ill feelings you may associate with diarrhea. Planning ahead will make your colonoscopy prep easier. […]

Read Full Story

African Americans at higher risk for colorectal cancers, but screenings lag

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, African Americans have the highest rate of death and the shortest rate of survival for colorectal cancer. In fact, African Americans are 45% more likely than other groups […]

Read Full Story

Back from stage 3 ovarian cancer, Stephanie Virgin is a mom and thriving professional

Photo by Anna May Photography Stephanie Virgin was 29 and hoping to start a family, so ovarian cancer was the last thing on her mind — even when she experienced textbook symptoms. The Louisville native […]

Read Full Story

Surgeon’s mission trip takes expertise in women’s surgery to Nicaragua

Each year, more than 200 women are able to see David L. Doering, M.D., for issues requiring surgery for gynecologic cancers. A “Master Surgeon” as designated by the Surgical Review Corp., Dr. Doering uses minimally […]

Read Full Story

Lung screening catches woman’s cancer, avoids need for chemo or radiation

Margaret Taylor, 72, started smoking as a 14-year-old growing up in Tell City, Indiana. It became an addiction of at least a pack a day that lasted a total of 46 years. “Things were different […]

Read Full Story

Search our entire site.

Schedule an Appointment

Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.