Advice for Family Members Whose Loved One is in Hospice Care

Accepting an inevitable end will never be easy, even more so when our loved ones are involved. We can say that we are ready, but we will never be truly prepared.

Finding the best hospice services that will address the needs of our loved ones is not only a physically taxing task but emotionally too. Deciding between providing hospice care to your loved one in the comfort of your own home or an assisted living facility must be made as well. In this highly emotional and critical period, we remain a significant part in making the remaining time of our loved ones comfortable and well-lived.

Planning can make the transition from cure to care a little easier. By handling the practical matters early on, we are lessening the probability of having to face problems when it’s time for hospice care. This way, we can focus on what matters the most: moments that are worth keeping.

Here are some reminders that might be helpful for you and your family during this difficult time:

  1. Communicate well with your family.

Helping hands of elderly person

Issues might arise if there are no clear roles and designations during the care for your loved one. Early on, ask yourself and everyone else on who could be the most suitable health care agent in the family when medical decisions are to be made. Accept the decision even if it means it’s not you.

If there are family members who live in a different city or state, let them know the extent of the situation. Ask them to visit right away, so they can have an accurate picture of the situation. At times like this, what we usually imagine is different from the real scenario. It takes seeing to truly understand and know what to do from there. Not knowing can cause anxiety, or the misconception that there will be other days to come and visit.

This is the time for your family to come together and resolve issues if there are any. Tough family times can get easier when you know that every member is around.

  1. Honor your loved one’s wishes.

Simply put: It’s all about your loved one– what he or she wants and how he or she wants it. The priority is to make your loved one feel better physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

What you have in mind might be different from your loved one’s request, and accepting that might be painful. Keep in mind that decisions on matters concerning hospice care and funeral preparations should be centered on his or her wish. Acknowledging his or her dying wish is a gift to the person. Not doing so might result to regret in the future.

This includes wishes that should be in black and white such as legal documents and living will. It is not enough to have an oral agreement; it’s better to put it on paper and discuss it with family members afterward.

  1. Accept help.

Doctor in hospice talking to elderly woman

Activelycaring for a loved one during this time can be devastating. If another family member is in charge of providing personal care to your loved one, offer them help. If the responsibility falls on your shoulders, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from family members and hospice social workers. Both can aid you in alleviating the stress and turmoil of caring for a dying loved one. Also, ask for advice from caregivers and doctors to make decision-making easier.

It’s important to remember that you are not alone during this time. This is the most crucial period to be a family, for the peace of your loved one and yourselves.