23 Mar 3 Ways to Gently Approach the Conversation of Hospice Care
Having a conversation about hospice care is never an easy one. However, how you approach the subject could mean the difference between a fruitful conversation or something a little more difficult. It’s not always as easy as putting yourself in the other person’s shoes because until you are in that position, you won’t know how you are going to feel until you are the one facing an end of life decision.
How to Begin the Conversation
There are a few things you need to know before you begin the hospice care conversation. Each person will deal with grief in their own way because death is an unknown; therefore, most people will feel fear at the very least. That means you have to be prepared for any possible reaction. It’s best to practice how you will respond to each possible scenario such as sadness, anger, resentment, hostility, etc. with another person before you have the actual conversation with your loved one. This will help you to respond appropriately and calmly regardless of the response you receive.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you begin:
- It might take more than one attempt before you make any headway.
- Include as many family members as possible in the conversation.
- Don’t expect an immediate decision.
- Not everyone will always agree with what they think is the best way to handle the situation.
What to Say When Your Loved One Feels They Are Not Ready for Hospice
This is common especially for those who aren’t given a specific survival time-frame. In this scenario, it’s best to have this conversation early on and present it as an option for now or in the near future. You can start by telling your loved one you want them to be comfortable and live as long a life as possible and that hospice is a way to do that because it’s possible they could still be with you for years to come. This helps to alleviate the fears and emotions that come with them having to face the end of their life. You can then explain that hospice is the best option when it comes to having caring, compassionate, skilled professionals who know how to deliver the best possible care for achieving a longer life.
What to Say When Your Loved One Refuses to Accept Help
Many people feel that asking for help is burdening someone else. And those same people generally feel they should be carrying their own weight and take great pride in doing so. Therefore, agreeing to accept help is difficult for them as they’ve always taken pride in caring for themselves. When this is the case, you should begin the conversation by letting your loved one know how proud you are of them for working so hard throughout their life for everything they have, and how grateful you are for the support they’ve given you over the years. Then you proceed by telling them that now it’s your time to take care of them like they did for you. Tell your loved one that it hurts you to see them in pain or being uncomfortable and that you know of a group of people that can help them so they can continue to live at home.
What to Say if Your Loved One Doesn’t Want Someone Else Living in Their Home
Some people are very distrustful and don’t want strangers living in their home. Or they might just not want anyone around during such an emotional time when they would rather be alone. Whatever the reason, you will have to paint a picture of what this will mean for them. Explain that after a few hours, just like at any other time in their life, these people will feel like friends who just want to help. You might also explain that you can’t be with them at all times to help them get out of bed, keep up with their medications, or to make sure they have all their needs met at any given moment. Then let them know how important it is to you that they are properly cared for and comfortable at all times because you want them to be around as long as possible.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of any emotions that come about, be patient, compassionate and understanding. And remember, this is going to be you one day. Therefore, just realize that what you are doing is the most loving act of kindness you can possibly give your loved one at such a critical time in their life.