The term “hospice care” brings a variety of ideas to mind, many of which may be negative. Some might think of horrible dungeons where substandard care is the norm, while others might feel it is synonymous with “giving up”. People might hear the term with shock, or they may think of it as a place to go to die. The reality, however, is that hospice care is not at all about giving up, but continuing care to make your loved one as comfortable as possible and help them through their last moments of life.
When it becomes apparent that medical treatment is no longer helping and your loved one is seeing no improvement, it is time to discuss hospice care. However, this can be difficult. Following are some pointers to help the discussion go as smoothly as possible:
– Set the environment: This is not a conversation you want to rush. When it comes time to talk about hospice care, make sure have your discussion in a quiet, private place where you won’t be interrupted. Make sure the right people are present as well. Most importantly, be patient, and take your time.
– Get them talking: Ask your loved one to describe what they understand about their current health condition. In addition, ask about their expectations for the future, their goals, and their current feelings. Be empathetic, and listen rather than speak. If there is some discrepancy between their understanding and reality, you can clear that up afterward.
– Offer encouragement: Hospice care is not about giving up hope. It is a way of moving beyond hospitalization and medical treatments that no longer help. Focus on how well they have held up under the circumstances. Fighting a terminal illness is not easy, and any continued effort to live hopefully in spite of it is commendably noble. Let them know that.
– Focus on continuality, not finality: Hospice care is a continuation of treatment, not the end of it. The goal has simply shifted. Instead of striving to prolong life, you are trying to make it as comfortable as possible while it lasts. Also, your choice of a hospice provider is not final. Knowing that can help your loved one be more comfortable with the idea.
– Respond to emotions: Strong emotions are natural here. Be patient and understanding. Sometimes, you don’t need words to respond to emotions. Something as simple as offering a tissue can be just what your loved one needs at this time.
â€¢ Make a plan: The future always seems a little brighter when you have a clear plan. Figure out how you will work together to make the final arrangements. Plan when you’ll visit, what traditions you’ll carry on with together, and how you will involve the family.
Your discussion about hospice care does not need to be full of fear. As you concentrate on hope instead of fear you will be able to help your loved one ease into it with dignity. At Senior Care Center, we can help your loved one live out their final days of life in hope and comfort. For more information, contact us.