Making End of Life Decisions

End of life decisions can come into our lives at the least expected and most inopportune times. Our Catholic Faith upholds the dignity of human life from the moment of conception to natural death and therefore has something to say about how we should treat others with dignity and respect. Making decisions that affect ourselves, our loved ones, respecting the wishes of those in our care, and also balancing it with our Faith, can be very difficult. Planning ahead can make decisions easier for us and those we love, and can allow us to focus on our last moments with one another while still in this life.

An Advance Directive for Health Care is a document that allows a person to make decisions in advance about the health care that they desire to receive or not receive in the event that medical decisions need to be made by someone other than yourself. The preparation of an Advance Directive for Health Care is a serious undertaking and should be completed after prayerful reflection and consultation. The following document can be downloaded, filled out, and shared with your loved ones or those who will be placed in charge of your health in such situations. This particular advance directive has been tailored to individuals who are Catholic Christian or would prefer to follow the Catholic guidelines for end of life decisions.  

Ethical Religious Directives are guidelines assembled by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to assist Catholic health care services in the care and healing of people at all stages of life. Recognition of the human person as a gift from God remains central to the directives and gives proper guidance to individuals and institutions that are entrusted with the care of all peoples.

Click to access Ethical-Religious-Directives-Catholic-Health-Care-Services-fifth-edition-2009.pdf