Starting the Conversation
It’s never too soon to discuss with your family and medical provider the care options available to you when facing a serious illness. As with any important decision, an open, frank discussion that isn’t occurring in the midst of a crisis can be helpful. If you have a serious illness, it is important to discuss your hopes and goals in coping with your illness.
Suggested questions to start a conversation…
- What do you value most about your life?
- If you were diagnosed with a terminal illness, would you want to pursue every possible cure?
- Do you imagine wanting to stop curative efforts if they were unsuccessful?
- How do you feel about an extended hospitalization?
- How much pain is acceptable to you?
- Do you want to be with your family when you die?
- What decisions regarding care do you want to entrust to others?
- What do you hope for most regarding your death or the death of a loved one?
“I cannot tell you how many times a family has thanked our hospice team for the wonderful care given their loved one and their family. They often say, knowing what they now know about hospice care, they wished they had called us sooner.”
– Sue Quist, RN, CHPN Hospice Supervisor
The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care.
Learn more at: www.theconversationproject.org
When is it time to Contact Hospice
Knowing when to refer a patient for a hospice evaluation can be difficult. Some signs that may indicate eligibility for hospice care are:
- Frequent hospitalizations
- Progressive weight loss
- Deteriorating mental abilities
- Recurrent infections
- Disease-specific declines
- Decrease in functional ability
- Not “bouncing back” after an illness
When a hospice referral is made, the hospice team can do a consultative visit to determine if someone is eligible to start hospice care.