Next Steps, a guide to discussing and coping with serious illness – and the Spanish version, Siguientes Pasos – is a companion to Five Wishes. The guide includes information on completing Five Wishes, talking to family members about completing a living will and discussing Five Wishes with your doctor. Included are exact words and phrases you can use to start these conversations. There's also useful guidance on serving as a health care agent and being at the bedside of someone who is seriously ill.
Although Five Wishes is itself an excellent guide to discussing your wishes in advance of a serious illness, many people find the subject a difficult one to broach with their doctor, family members and loved ones. The Next Steps guide, and the Spanish contains valuable information and assistance in starting, completing and following up on discussions about end-of-life care.
The Next Steps guide consists of four sections:
• How to Talk with Loved Ones about Five Wishes: Next Steps walks you through the discussion. It offers tips on talking with your loved ones about their wishes, as well as suggestions on how to talk about your own Five Wishes with them.
• How to Talk with Doc about Five Wishes: Completing Five Wishes is the first step to making your wishes known; the second is making your doctor aware of those wishes. The Next Steps guide has helpful advice on preparing for your conversation and some ideas on words to use to get the conversation going.
• How to be by the Bedside: If someone you care about becomes very sick or is near death, you may not know what to expect or what to do. The Next Steps guide prepares you and gives suggestions for what to say and how to offer support and love. People who offer comfort at the bedside say it is among the most profoundly moving experiences of their life.
• Answers to Questions about Five Wishes: The Next Steps guide gives answers to the most frequently asked questions about Five Wishes. Like Five Wishes, the Next Steps guide uses everyday language.