Any time a serious conversation needs to take place, it’s best to start it when you’re not already in the middle of a crisis. Beginning the conversation about hospice care is no different.

When discussing hospice with your loved one, it’s a good idea to expand the conversation to include end-of-life preferences. You may also want to get your doctor involved to further explain options.

Considering having the hospice conversation when the majority of family members can be together in person. This can provide a lot of support for your loved one as well as everyone hearing first-hand what your loved one’s wishes are. Also, a family get together can provide comfort and happiness despite the difficult conversation. It’s important to understand that some people want to skip over the conversation and instead list their wishes in a legal document, like a living will. However your loved one’s preferences to communicate should be respected. It’s also important to remember that changes can be made to their hospice decision and the type of treatment they wish to receive.

Despite your best intentions, sometimes the conversation doesn’t come up until it’s time to make a hospice decision. Many people find that they’ve waited until a serious condition or illness is present to talk about hospice care. The patient, or a doctor may bring up hospice for the first time. Or, it may be up to the patient or a care member to broach the topic with a doctor or other healthcare provider.

Knowing what questions to ask is a great way to get the conversation started. It can be difficult for the patient to decide on a hospice option if they don’t have answers to their questions, or clear expectations. A few questions you may find helpful might include the following:

• What is the most comfortable setting for you?

• How would you prefer any pain be managed (medications, acupuncture, massage, alternative therapies, etc)?

• Who would you prefer to make decisions about your healthcare if you were unable to do so?

• What types of end of life care would be most important to you?

When a patient chooses hospice, the entire family will be supported. Instead of focusing on curative care, hospice focuses on palliative care, meaning they strive to reduce painful symptoms as much as possible and keep the patient comfortable. The goal is to improve or maintain their quality of life to the fullest extent possible.

To learn more about hospice care and the services Hospice Promise provides, we invite you to contact us today.