Initiating a conversation about the need for hospice care with your doctor can be difficult. But it’s an important step when coping with a serious illness and a cure is unlikely. Hospice care is an option that focuses on providing comfort and relieving symptoms when curative measures have been ineffective. Here are some tips to help you initiate this conversation:
1 – Schedule enough time to talk: Schedule an appointment with your doctor where you can have a private and uninterrupted conversation. Make it clear that you need time for a real conversation.
2 – Be prepared: Make sure you are well-informed about your or your loved one’s condition and prognosis. Research to understand what hospice care is and how it can be of benefit. Read online or contact us to learn more. This will help you communicate more effectively.
3 – Bring support: Bring a trusted friend or family member to provide emotional support and to help remember important details from the conversation.
4 – Share your concerns: Start the conversation by expressing your concerns. Be honest and open about any challenges or symptoms.
5 – Ask for his opinion: Ask your doctor to explain the prognosis and whether hospice care is appropriate.
6 – Discuss goals and priorities: Talk about your goals and priorities for care. Helping your doctor understand what is most important to you can help guide the discussion.
7 – Prompt your doctor to advise: You can ask your doctor directly about hospice care, “Do you feel hospice care might be a suitable option for us?” Do not assume your doctor is knowledgeable about hospice care. Be prepared to discuss the benefits of hospice care, which may include symptom relief and a resulting improved quality of life.
8 – Listen actively: Pay attention to what your doctor says. Ask for clarification if something is not clear. Make sure you fully understand any options and implications.
9 – Respect your loved one’s wishes: If you are not the patient, involve your loved one in the conversation as much as possible. Their wishes should be central to the decision-making process.
10 – Discuss the transition: If your decision is to initiate hospice care, discuss a plan for the transition. Understand what services will be provided, where care will be delivered, and what to expect during this time.
11 – Do not feel pressured: It’s okay to ask for some time to consider the options. You don’t need to make an immediate decision.
12 – Advocate and follow up: After the conversation, follow up with your doctor to address any questions or concerns that occur later. You may need to advocate for your loved one’s wishes and ensure that their care aligns with their values.
The goal of this conversation is to ensure you or your loved one receives the most appropriate and compassionate care possible. Hospice care can offer comfort and support during this challenging time and discussing it with your doctor is part of making an informed decision.