4 Tips for Starting the Discussion About End-of-Life Care

For people with elderly parents, ensuring that their end-of-life care wishes are met is important — but they’re often held back from having this critical discussion because it is such a difficult one to start, or even to think about. Here are four tips from our hospice community in South Jersey to help you have this critical conversation.

  1. Speak now, don’t wait until it’s too late. It is important for discussions around end-of-life care to happen as early as possible with elderly parents or those facing a terminal illness to give them time to think about their wishes and consider different options. This ensures that your loved one gets the care option they prefer, rather than having an option pushed upon them in an emergency situation when they are unable to have their own say.

It also gives loved ones and their families’ time to adjust and absorb what they are facing while ensuring that a high quality of care is maintained throughout this time.

  1. Get to know different end-of-life care options. Since these discussions are often avoided, many people have little idea of what end-of-life care is all about, and this means that it’s often shrouded in fear and misconceptions. Before starting the conversation, visit different hospice and end-of-life care providers in your area and get to know their facilities, services and staff.

This is a good opportunity to speak to staff about daily routines and the kind of care your loved one will receive, and to have any of your questions answered. This way, you’ll be able to share reliable information and insights with your loved one.

  1. Have many conversations — don’t try to cover everything at once. This emotional and challenging conversation is likely filled with plenty of things all parties need to consider. Instead of trying to cover all your ground in one discussion and possibly overwhelming your loved one, limit your conversation to simple concerns and let your loved one lead the way.

For many terminal patients, end-of-life care has also been on their minds, so rather let them air their concerns and ask questions rather than dominating the discussion yourself. They may be relieved that you have brought it up.

  1. Ask the experts. If you are unsure of when end-of-life care would be needed for your loved one, what their illness entails in terms of end-of-life care or want recommendations for quality providers in your area, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make an appointment to speak to your loved one’s doctors, to friends and family who have loved ones in end-of-life care, and to the professionals at the facilities you visit.

End-of-life care is about compassion and support for terminal patients as well as their families, and leading providers are more than happy to sit down and advise you on how to manage this difficult issue.

Ask Our Hospice in Cape May County, NJ for Advice, Insight and Support 

At The Shores, part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer compassionate, professional hospice care in the Jersey Shore area in a part of our building called Bridges. In this program, we focus on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for residents and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support.

To find out more about our hospice or assisted living in the Jersey Shore area or if you need advice on hospice care options and Medicare, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today.