An end of life patient could find themselves in the middle of a family feud often fueled by long standing disagreements, according to the Washington Post in "A united family can make all the difference when someone is dying."
Doctors have a name for one of the common problems that can arise. They call it the "Daughter from California syndrome." This can happen when family members compete with each other over who cares for the elderly patient the most. Often, someone who lives far away goes too far and is the source of the disruptions.
Another source of problems for families is when the person the patient put in charge of things overexerts their control and refuses to cooperate with others. For example, someone given authority in a health care power of attorney may refuse to listen to the opinions of other family members. This can create unnecessary tension, especially when decisions have to be made that are outside the scope of any advanced directives.
The best thing a family can do to help an elderly patient at the end of life, is to work together, communicate freely and come to consensus on decisions concerning treatment and care.
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Reference: Washington Post (Nov. 20, 2016) "A united family can make all the difference when someone is dying."