Category Archives: Guidance to patients

When The Family Has Disagreements About Hospice

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When a doctor tells a family member that an illness is terminal, there may be disagreement among other family members about the next steps to take.

When dad has been told that death is just a few months away, sons and daughters may want dad to go on hospice while mom may want to continue aggressive treatment. (Or those sides of the argument may be reversed.)

Frequently, these disagreements occur because of a lack of familiarity with hospice. The concept is still relatively new, just a few decades old in the U.S. Even those in their 70s and 80s who’ve had friends on hospice may not know the full scope of hospice care and may have fallen prey to hospice misconceptions.

The most important things to know are: Hospice care does not speed up the dying process. Hospice is focused on patient comfort and pain relief. If a patient and/or caregivers want to rescind the decision to accept hospice care, it can be easily done.

It can be hard for any family member to face up to the reality that mom, dad, husband, wife or other family member will soon be gone. When a patient signs on for hospice care, there is an implied acknowledgement that life’s finish line is within view.

Convincing others who are providing input into the decision that your position (either for or against hospice care) is the correct choice can be difficult. A visit with a hospice representative can address most of your concerns and may reveal to all concerned that hospice is the proper choice. Or maybe not, for now.

We at Hope Hospice welcome the opportunity to share our story with all who will listen. If you have any questions about hospice care in St. Louis, call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Do I Know When It’s Time… To Ask About Hospice?

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.

 

 

 

 

Making The Hospice Decision

We all want control in our lives. Even those of us who have given up control of certain aspects of our lives still want to control many other parts of our existence.

We may depend on other family members and doctors for guidance about major life and health decisions, but, ultimately, most of us want to make the big choices for ourselves.

The decision to enroll in hospice care is, for many, not an easy choice to make. Often there are many good reasons to go on hospice, which must be weighed against reasons not to begin hospice care.

The key element of hospice care is the patient’s physical comfort. Emotional and spiritual support for the patient and family members are important components. Even though hospice provides those important services, a patient may not be quite ready to make the transition to hospice care.

As we make the big decisions in our lives, it is important to have as much information as possible. We talk to friends and neighbors who may have had a loved one on hospice care. We reach out to clergy who may have observed hospice care for church members.

It is also important to talk to a hospice representative. He or she can answer your specific questions. Not all hospices provide the same level of service. Not all hospices are as responsive to special needs as others. Not all hospices are easy to reach on nights and weekends.

If you are a patient who wants to know more about hospice (or you are a close family member), call us at Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800. We can connect you to someone who may be able to answer questions by phone. In some cases, it may be best for a Hope Hospice representative to meet with you in person.

As you control your personal destiny, good information will help you make the best choices for you and your life.

Hope Hospice serves patients and families in St. Louis city and county and in Jefferson, St. Charles and Franklin counties.