In some families, it’s easy to talk about sensitive subject matter. In others, one has to be extra careful about what is said to immediate family members.
Who should bring up the subject of hospice and when? Should the doctor or team of physicians be the first to broach the subject? Should the patient be proactive and ask questions? Or, should the patient wait for a spouse/partner, a sibling or an offspring to offer the first mention of hospice?
The answer is—there is no specific answer. If the patient is of sound mind and is in control of his or her healthcare, the patient may want to initiate the family discussion. The patient, however, may encounter resistance from family members who say things like, “Don’t even go there. You’re gonna beat this thing.”
Even if the patient is confident of recovery/remission, there’s no harm in asking about hospice now. None of us is going to live forever. When—at some future date—the information about hospice becomes relevant, the patient (and, presumably, caregivers) will possess the knowledge.
A concerned caregiver may want to make the first inquiry. Learning about hospice and sharing that information with the patient helps demystify the concept. It can also soften the starkness of a doctor’s suggestion somewhere down the road to contact a hospice agency.
Hospice personnel everywhere are acutely aware that while most adults have heard of hospice, many know little about what hospice is and what it does.
At Hope Hospice we answer questions every week from patients, family members and medical personnel about our services. Whether your questions are general or specific, feel free to call our offices anytime at 314-984-9800.
Hope Hospice is based in St. Louis county (Missouri) at Manchester and Barrett Station roads. We serve patients and families in St. Louis city and county and in Jefferson, St. Charles and Franklin counties.