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How to Talk to Mom or Dad About Hospice

Set the Stage

Share your idea with your siblings first, if you have any, so that everyone can work toward a unified goal of suggesting hospice.

Arm yourself with information about the hospice services in your area. Your parent may be reluctant to put in all the legwork, so gather pamphlets, phone numbers, websites, referrals and other information about hospice before you talk to your mother or father.

Try to introduce the idea of hospice during a calm moment, when everyone is relaxed and in an amenable mood. Look for an opportunity to bring it up in everyday conversation, such as when your mother or father mentions how nice it would be to spend more time with you.

If you find it difficult to fit hospice into everyday conversation, schedule a day to bring up the idea. Work toward creating a supportive environment that day, and broach the subject when your mother or father is feeling safe, secure and loved.

Have the Hospice Talk

You might be afraid that your mom or dad will think you have given up hope or that you no longer want to help them fight their illness. One good approach is to explain that hospice is a tool that will help the family gain control over the experience of the ailment. Hospice will help your parent decide exactly where, how, and with whom to spend the rest of his/her life.

Present hospice as a serious branch of medicine. Hospice workers specialize in administering medicines and treatments to relieve pain and other symptoms. The registered nurses and other professional healthcare providers associated with hospice can provide better medical care than the typical family member, and most hospice workers are especially compassionate people.

Remind your parent that hospice is often a liberating experience in that it allows families to spend quality time together. Most parents dislike the idea of being a burden to their children, so assure your parent that accepting hospice will free you from these pressures. For example, you can watch a movie with your father instead of worrying about administering his next pain shot or set up a favorite card game to play with your mother after a hospice worker helps her with therapy.

More Talking Tips

Offer to set up an appointment with a hospice care nurse to give your mom or dad a chance to meet one of these healthcare professionals. Remind your parent that he/she is under no obligation to enroll in hospice care even after meeting a hospice care nurse.

Allow your parent to respond to the suggestion of hospice without fear of judgment or reprisal. Acknowledge any emotional response your parent may have and legitimize his/her reaction. Empathize with your mom or dad and explore any concerns your parent may have. Finally, reassure your mother or father of your love and unending support, no matter what he or she decides.

If your parent seems reluctant at first, give your mom or dad time to think about hospice. Do not force hospice on your mother or father, but instead keep that option available. Many people accept the idea in time while others never will. Simply express your love for your mother or father and promise to support any decision they make about receiving hospice care.

Contact us to learn more about how our hospice services can help you.