Many individuals who are diagnosed with a terminal illness are initially reluctant to consider special medical care. Early after diagnosis, many can still function independently with minimal assistance from practitioners, nurses, mental health counselors, and other members of a hospice team.
However, there is often a need for additional assistance as the terminal illness progresses in order to maintain optimal quality of life. This guide discusses effective conversation starters to bring up hospice care to a loved one diagnosed with a terminal illness.
How To Start A Conversation About Hospice Care With A Loved One
The Conversation Project has put together a free and comprehensive guide on how to bring up medical care for loved ones that have terminal illnesses. This guide is particularly helpful as they help break down conversation starters based upon the serious illness your loved one has. In addition to that helpful resource, the following are a few effective conversation starters to introduce hospice care to a loved one.
Introduce A Real-Life Story Of How Hospice Care Helped Someone You Know
One of the best ways to bring up hospice care to a loved one who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness is to introduce a real-life story that highlights how beneficial it can be for improving quality of life. This is particularly helpful if you know someone that has gone through hospice care or is currently in hospice care. If not, then you can find successful testimonies online or by contacting a local hospice provider.
Ask Your Loved One How They Are Feeling Physically And Mentally
Another great way to bring up hospice care to your loved one is to start by asking how they are feeling both physically and mentally. Hospice care considers the overall well-being of the patient, ensuring their physical, mental, and spiritual needs are met. If your loved one reports any issues with their health or general well-being, then you can use it to introduce how you feel hospice care can benefit them. If they are feeling well, you can still transition into discussing future needs they may have due to their illness.
Ask Your Loved One About Their Preferences For End-of-Life Care
It is important to keep in mind the preferences for your loved one as they go through the stages of their illness. One of the hardest conversations to have, yet one of the more important ones, is about their preference for end-of-life care. Discuss their goals with them, and if appropriate, talk to them about how hospice care can help them reach their goals and live the way they desire. For example, if your loved one says that they desire to spend time with family, then talk to them about how hospice care takes the responsibility off of loved ones to assist completely with activities of daily living (ADLs), freeing them up to spend more meaningful time with family.
When To Have The Conversation About Hospice Care
You should consider introducing hospice care to your loved one if they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Specifically, your loved one may benefit from hospice care for the following reasons:
- A loved one has been diagnosed with a severe or terminal illness
- A physician alone cannot meet the needs of the patient
- The quality of life without hospice care is greatly diminished
- Your loved one has had multiple hospitalizations due to their illness
- Curative care is no longer a solution
- Your loved one does not wish to pursue curative care
After you have the conversation about hospice care with your loved one, you can schedule a consultation with a hospice care provider (such as Harbor Light Hospice) to discuss your options.
Palliative Care Vs. Hospice Care: Which Is The Right Solution?
The focus of hospice care is to improve the quality of life for individuals and to help ensure they are prepared for the final stages and end of life. It is important to keep in mind that hospice care is for people who are diagnosed with a terminal illness, especially those who are not expected to live for more than six months.
Palliative care is similar to hospice care in the sense that it improves the quality of life and functional capabilities for those with life-limiting illnesses. However, patients in palliative care often seek curative care and their illness is not considered to be terminal.
Start The Hospice Care Process With A Quick Phone Call
Hospice care is a way to improve the quality of life after a terminal illness diagnosis. To learn more about the benefits of hospice care and to decide if it is right for you, call Harbor Light Hospice today. We are happy to answer your questions and help you decide if hospice care is right for you or your loved one.