Starting a conversation with a terminally ill loved one about hospice can be difficult. This can be one of the hardest parts of their journey, so it is not unusual to see them shut down the conversation and resist the idea of transitioning to hospice care. Many times, resistance to transitioning to hospice comes from holding misconceptions about what hospice is. While hospice has a stigma of being cold and hopeless, that couldn’t be further from the truth; hospice provides holistic care to the patient and supports family members throughout the patient’s end-of-life journey.
At Three Oaks Hospice, we believe everyone deserves to exercise their right to hospice care, so we’ve gathered some tips on how to best navigate a conversation with a loved one who is hesitant about hospice.
1. Listen To Their Concerns
Even if your loved one is aware of their declining health, it may be hard for them to let go of hope for a cure. If they are unsure of their next steps after a terminal diagnosis, gently ask them how they envision their end-of-life journey. Starting with talking points such as: “What does a good day look like for you?” or “When do you want to shift from trying to find treatments to trying to enjoy life as much as possible?”. Take this chance to validate what they’re feeling and allow space for whatever emotions come up. This is a time to offer emotional support as they find a way to approach this situation.
2. Ask Them What Hospice Means to Them
Getting an insight into what hospice means to your loved one can give you a better understanding of why they might be resistant to hospice care. Some people believe hospice signifies giving up on life or being bedridden at a facility. Exploring the stigmas they hold about hospice can help you understand what is motivating their resistance.
3. Provide Them with Information They Might Be Missing
After hearing your loved one’s concerns about hospice, you can provide them with information specific to their worries. For example, if cost is a worry, let them know that hospice is a quality-of-life service that is fully covered by Medicare – that means medication, medical supplies, medical attention and more will be provided at no cost to the individual. Many people mistake hospice as a physical location, but hospice care takes place wherever your loved one resides: their home, a family member’s home, an assisted living facility, etc. They will receive medical support, emotional support, and everything needed to manage their illness holistically without taking away their autonomy.
4. Connect With Hospice Professionals to Gather More Information
Talk with a Three Oaks Hospice professional who can offer a deeper insight into what hospice would look like for your loved one. Our team of experts can answer any questions your loved one might have about hospice and the choices they want to make regarding their end-of-life plans. As a family caregiver, you too can get answers to any questions you have about hospice care as we consider both the patient and their family in our unit of care.
5. Consider Other Options
If your loved one is having a hard time making the decision to receive hospice care, palliative care is a great option because it offers identical benefits to hospice while patients continue curative treatments. With Three Oaks Palliative Care, your loved one can receive medical and emotional care at home while gradually adjusting to the idea of hospice.
Your loved one is free to choose what direction they want their healthcare to go, regardless of their health status. With support and a clear understanding of what hospice is, your loved one will be equipped to make a well-informed decision. Whatever that decision may be, Three Oaks Hospice is available 24/7 to answer any questions you have. Get in touch with us here.