Approaching the Idea of Hospice Care with a Loved One

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable female nurse comforting a patient in the hospitalThe decision to pursue hospice care is no light choice. Suggesting it to a parent or loved one can be difficult. However, if a time comes that there is no cure or other option, the benefits of hospice care can be beneficial to all parties involved. With a careful and thoughtful approach, there are ways to make this conversation easier to have.

Hospice is not “Giving Up”

Many people who are not familiar with hospice care may compare it to “giving up” on life. This is far from true. Hospice is a different form of care, focusing on improving quality of life for terminally ill patients. According to the Hospice Foundation of America, the most common comment heard from patients and families is that they wish they had experienced hospice care earlier in the illness. This is because hospice care is less about losing hope, but more about redefining hope.

Become informed

Before speaking to an ill parent or loved-one about hospice care, it’s a good idea to become informed about the options. Searching for programs and care providers in the area, and learning about what they have to offer can make the conversation easier. Being able to talk about therapies offered, and even reading the stories of other families who have benefited from hospice care, can help show a loved-one how valuable this choice can be.

Be Receptive to Your Loved One’s Concerns

Whether bringing up the idea of hospice care before or after a terminal diagnosis, it’s important to hear out your loved one’s concerns. Many older adults and patients in general can feel that they have less control over their lives than they previously had. Showing respect for their desires provides dignity and creates an open environment.

The conversation can start when discussing an advanced directive or will. It can also start when deciding who will care for a loved one after diagnosis. In any event, the sooner the topic is considered, the better.

Some questions to ask when bringing up the idea of hospice care include:

  • Do you imagine wanting to stop efforts for a cure if they were unsuccessful?
  • Do you want to die at home?
  • What do you hope for most regarding your death or the death of a loved one?
  • How do you feel about an extended hospitalization, nursing homes?

These questions are just a few of many to consider. Thinking of all aspects from diagnosis, to death, to possible funeral arrangements can ease any worry for the future.

Speak with a professional

Setting up an appointment with a hospice care nurse or social worker is a great way to get an opinion. These professionals are trained and experienced in dealing with delicate topics and can help bring perspective to both the patient and their family members.

Give It Time

After introducing this new idea to a loved one, what’s most important is to give them some time to think. Hospice care, and any care, is an important decision. With more offerings of support than pressure, they may come to realize the benefits of hospice care all on their own.

Stein Hospice at The Wilf Campus for Senior Living offers compassionate, individualized hospice care to patients experiencing a life-limiting illness and support to their families. With a focus on making each day meaningful for the patients we serve, our team of hospice professionals work to relieve pain and suffering and to address the unique physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of each patient and his or her loved ones and caregivers. For more information on Stein Hospice, its services, and the benefits of faith-based hospice care, please contact us at (732)-227-1212 or email Hospice@WilfCampus.org.

Furthers resources relating to hospice care and community support can be found at the link below:
https://www.wilfcampus.org/hospice/resources/