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Talking to Your Family About Body Donation

Talking to Your Family About Body Donation

Planning ahead for the end of your life shouldn’t stress you out. In fact, for some people the purpose of choosing to be a MedCure whole-body donor is to reduce the stress your family and loved ones might experience at the time of your passing. Because MedCure will handle all the arrangements related to the donation, our donors can leave their loved ones to focus on their memories, instead of the burden of making important decisions at an already difficult time.

In order to ensure the donation process goes smoothly, however, it’s important for donors to take an important step in their planning: talking to loved ones about body donation. MedCure cannot accept a donation if the donor’s family objects, so it’s vital to ensure that your loved ones are aware of and support your decision to become a whole-body donor. The best way to make this happen is to talk to them ahead of time. While MedCure can’t make the conversation an easier one to have, we can help you prepare in order to ensure your discussion goes as smoothly as possible.

If you would like to view our body donation Conversation Kit, you can download a copy from our website at https://medcure.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/2019-11-25_MK-018.0-Talking-to-Loved-Ones-About-Body-Donation.pdf.

Prepare

Ask questions, get answers, and make certain you understand the MedCure program. We’re more than happy to answer your questions, and we’re available to you 24-hours a day. All you need to do is email us at info@medcure.org or call us toll-free at 1-866-560-2525. We can help you understand how our donation process works, how donors help to advance the science of medicine for generations to come, and how ethical, AATB-accredited programs like MedCure work to safeguard the identities and dignity of all our donors.

Get your Ws in a row: Who, What, When, and Where.

  • Decide first of all who needs to be aware of your end of life plans. Your legal next of kin is a good person to inform, since he or she will likely have to deal with small legal and financial matters related to your passing. If you have a Healthcare Power of Attorney, this person should definitely know about your plans so that they can proceed according to your wishes.
  • Next, make sure your plans are clear. If you want to be a body donor, make certain you’ve completed your registration and signed your consent forms so that you can share the important details with your loved ones. Being prepared will help the conversation go more easily.
  • Lastly, choose the best time and place to have your conversation. For many people, the holidays provide an opportunity to broach the subject, since it’s a time when friends and family naturally gather together into one space. For others, the frantic pace and inherent distractions of the holiday season make having important discussions more difficult. These individuals might prefer a quiet discussion over coffee or at a restaurant where there are fewer distractions and outside pressures to worry about. There’s no right or wrong choice. Do what feels most comfortable for you.

Talk

It’s the simplest part of the process, and yet can be the most daunting. By preparing ahead of time and thinking about what you want to say, who you want to talk with, and what the best place is to have the conversation, you can eliminate a lot of the uncertainty and feel more comfortable in the moment. Don’t be afraid to make notes for yourself, especially if there are a lot of things you want to cover, of if you think your loved ones will have a lot of questions. Having these notes to refer to can help you to ensure you successfully deliver your message about why body donation is important to you.

Also, allow yourself to be in the moment. The conversation may be emotional for you or for your loved ones. That’s okay. It also might not go exactly as you planned, and that’s okay, too. It’s the talking that’s important, not how it all comes out.

Revisit

Your end-of-life decisions are important, but they’re not set in stone. Registering with MedCure doesn’t obligate you to donate, so you can always change your mind. You can also revise your decisions about the disposition of your cremated remains. You can have these returned to a loved one or ask MedCure to perform a scattering at sea on your behalf. You can also ask that MedCure send a family letter approximately a year after your passing. This letter will let your loved ones know how your donation helped to advance medical science. Many of our donor families find a great sense of peace and satisfaction in seeing the impact their loved one’s generosity has made.

 

Many people are intimidated by the idea of discussing their end-of-life wishes, but the conversation doesn’t have to be difficult. Sharing your thoughts and feelings on this important topic can even help to bring you closer to your loved ones. The important thing is to open the door to honest communication and to ensure that your choices will be honored by those you leave behind.