Starting the Hospice Conversation
"Mom will think we’re giving up. How can we start talking about hospice?"
When patients choose hospice care, they’re not giving up – they’re taking control. Hospice enables them to decide exactly how, where and with whom they will spend the rest of their lives. Most patients find hospice care to be a liberating experience that brings them both physical and emotional relief. Quite often they say: "I wish I’d entered the hospice program sooner."
"Dad won’t even consider hospice, but the rest of us need help. What can we do?"
Most patients don’t want their caregivers to be excessively burdened by their illness. Help them understand that the greatest gift they can give their family is the ability to spend quality time with each other. Hospice supports the entire family so everyone can be physically and emotionally available to focus on important end-of-life issues.
"We haven’t even talked to my sister about the fact that she’s dying. How can we bring up hospice?"
Center for Hospice Care has great expertise in talking with patients and their families about life-limiting illness. We can meet with patients anywhere, anytime, to discuss their health needs, learn their personal feelings and desires, and introduce the concept of hospice care. These conversations usually go more smoothly than families imagined possible and are often welcomed by the patient.
"My brother says he’s had it! Is he allowed to quit his treatments and go on hospice?"
Patients who have been through extensive treatment or repeated hospitalizations often become so physically weary that they choose not to continue curative care. Whether or not patients complete their treatment is their choice. They are encouraged to consider hospice care at whatever point they decide to stop aggressive, curative treatment.
"My mother’s physician hasn’t mentioned hospice care. Should we bring it up?"
Yes! Many physicians hesitate to talk about hospice care because they don’t want to destroy a patient’s hope. However, they may actually be relieved if YOU broach the subject. If you feel hospice may be a good option – now or in the future – talk with the doctor about the benefits of curative treatment vs. palliative (comfort) care. Also be sure to discuss your expectations for preserving quality of life so that you share common care goals. If you are hesitant to talk to the physician directly, Center for Hospice Care can help with that communication.
"My father is in the hospital and we wonder if hospice care would be beneficial. Whom do we talk to?"
Hospital social workers and discharge planners should be knowledgeable about the many services provided by Center for Hospice Care and can facilitate a referral to our program. If you haven’t already had direct contact with a social worker, ask your physician, a nurse or chaplain to put you in touch with one.
Center for Hospice Care's admission nurses are available to counsel patients and families whether hospice care is needed now or in the future. Do not hesitate to call us directly with any questions you may have at 574-243-3125.