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Having Hard Conversations

Having the conversation about Hospice care is incredibly challenging in any circumstance. Although it is difficult, this process can be incredibly empowering for both the patient and the caregiver. Knowing what your loved one wants in end of life care can reduce difficult decision making during end-of-life.

The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine put together a video to educate those with serious illness on the benefits of Hospice and Palliative Care.

Tips and Tools for Starting the Conversation:

  • Start by clarifying the information that the person understands about their prognosis, or disease stage. Be direct and speak simply. Repeat what you understand to the person to ensure you are both on the same page.

  • If the patient is willing to discuss their wishes for end of life care. We recommend the 5 Wishes Handbook or the What Matters to Me Workbook tools to help you start this difficult conversation. You can also review our Hospice FAQ page.

  • Emphasize the services listed above. Ask the person if these services would be helpful at this time? Many individuals may not understand all of the services that can be provided by Hospice. They also may not understand that Hospice Care can be provided in the home or nursing facility.

  • Whether a person is willing to discuss Hospice at this time or not, consider asking them to establish Advanced Directives. This is so important for individuals at any age and at any stage in life. It is important to plan ahead, to avoid unnecessary suffering and relieve caregivers of decision-making burdens during moments of crisis or grief. 

It’s hard to ground people in the reality that, at all stages of life, people unfortunately die. Hospice giveshope to those who are experiencing this reality- it does not diminish it. The target simply changes- the terminal patient may now hope for closure with a loved one, hope for a peaceful passing or financial stability. They hope to spend their remaining time with family and friends or traveling or finishing a bucket list. Again, Hospice is this philosophy of care that focuses on comfort. If a patient or caregiver is ready, we can help them maximize the time that they have left.

Every patient’s Plan of Care will be matched to their unique goals for comfort. Patients, caregivers and family members are at the center of the decision-making process and are never alone.