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Tips on Discussing End-of-Life Care with Loved Ones
Mar 16, 2023

Tips on Discussing End-of-Life Care with Loved Ones

Discussing end-of-life care preferences with a loved one can be uncomfortable. Many people shy away from the topic, and it’s understandable why. But it’s important to know someone’s wishes for where and how they want to die and the amount of medical intervention they’d prefer. Knowing what your loved one wants gives you both the agency to ensure their wishes are upheld when the time comes. Being proactive and having this conversation sooner rather than later is the best way to get started. 

If you are ready to speak to your loved one but aren’t sure how to approach the conversation, consider these tips provided by our team at Shiloh Hospice. We can help you and your family determine the kind of care that is best.

Why It’s Important to Know Your Loved One’s End-of-Life Care Goals 

Knowing your loved one’s end-of-life care goals is essential to ensuring the care they receive suits their preferences and values. Without this information, it can lead to delayed hospice care and unsuccessful hospitalizations rather than months of proper hospice care that could have eased the patient’s symptoms and given them time to spend with their family. 

If you need guidance or a starting point, the following questions can ensure your conversation is productive: 

  • What is most valuable to your life? 
  • Would you still want to pursue all available treatments for an incurable illness, even if they may compromise your quality of life? 
  • If you had a terminal illness that prevented you from eating or drinking, would you want tube feeding (artificial nutrition) and intravenous hydration, knowing they may cause complications and not lengthen your life? 
  • Would you prefer to die in your home? 
  • Knowing that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can lead to complications such as broken bones, would you still want to receive it if you were frail and terminally ill? 
  • Who do you want to be present when you are dying? 
  • What kinds of memorial service or funeral arrangements would you want? Who would you want to speak at the service, and are there poems, passages from your faith or other readings that are important to you? 
  • Would you prefer to be cremated or buried, or would you want your body to be donated to science? 

By specifying your loved one’s wishes, you can make informed decisions regarding their care together. 

Documenting the Conversation

Remember to document your loved one’s care preferences since this information will likely need to be shared with family through an advance care directive. Storing this information with a healthcare system or company that specializes in end-of-life care planning can ensure it is accessible. 

Preparing for the Future Gives Your Loved Ones Peace of Mind

Making a major decision regarding one’s end-of-life care is rarely an easy conversation to have. A person’s values, priorities and health status can change over time, too, and their personal history and faith beliefs can influence what their decision is. But even if now doesn’t sound like the ideal time to have this conversation, it’s better to do so when you and your loved one can communicate properly. 

If your loved one chooses hospice care, know that Shiloh Hospice will be honored to serve you through life’s most challenging moments. Contact our team to discover our full range of services




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