It is time for conversations about death to become a part of life.
That is one of the themes of a 500-page report, titled “Dying In America,” releasedWednesday by the Institute of Medicine.
The report suggests that the first end-of-life conversation could coincide with a cherished American milestone: getting a driver’s license at 16, the first time a person weighs what it means to be an organ donor.
Follow-up conversations with a counselor, nurse or social worker should come at other points early in life, such as turning 18 or getting married.
The idea, according to the IOM, is to “help normalize the advance care planning process by starting it early, to identify a health care agent, and to obtain guidance in the event of a rare catastrophic event.”
The IOM plans to spend the next year holding meetings around the country to spark conversations about the report’s findings and recommendations. “The time is now for our nation to develop a modernized end-of-life care system,” said Dr. Victor Dzau, president of the IOM. Continue reading