Starting the Conversation: Discussing Hospice with a Loved One

Discussing end-of-life care is a conversation no one ever likes to have, but it is so important when determining a patient’s care preferences and treatment options. Having this conversation during the early stages of a serious illness can be beneficial to everyone involved. Patients will feel confident that care decisions made on their behalf will be consistent with their personal wishes, and caregivers will not have to guess if they are making a decision that their loved one would have wanted.

Here are some tips to starting the conversation about hospice care with a loved one:

Educate yourself and your loved one on what hospice care means. Hospice care is not giving up. It is a specialized form of care that focuses on reducing a patient and family’s physical, emotional and spiritual pain, while enhancing his or her quality of life.

Choose a relaxed and private environment, free of interruptions, to begin the discussion. Also, look for an opening for when to have a conversation about the patient’s illness, such as listening for comments about his or her condition, being tired of hospital visits and wanting to be comfortable.

Let your loved one know he or she will still have a say in the type of care received. Explain that you are exploring potential care options, not doing anything against their will.

Be empathetic, encouraging and reassuring. Let your loved one speak freely and assure him or her that you will always be there through the journey.

For more information about hospice care and staff available to help, please contact Carroll Hospice at 410-871-8000 or visit our website.

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