Few things in life cause as much worry and confusion as hospice care and end-of-life planning. Clarifying the planning process can do wonders toward giving you the peace and assurance you need to know that your loved ones are comfortable and being taken care of until the very end of their life.
There are several steps to end-of-life planning, from knowing who you need to talk to, to knowing what to bring, to knowing how to talk about it with your loved one.
In this post, we’ll explore how to plan for these sensitive yet extremely important topics, guiding you through the process step by step so that you can be ready when the time finally comes.
How to discuss end-of-life hospice planning
The first part of the hospice care planning process is discussing it with the person who will be receiving end-of-life care. While this process can be an uneasy and delicate topic of conversation, proper planning can help make this discussion as painless and productive as possible.
The majority of seniors fail to make plans for hospice until they’re faced with a terminal, life-limiting illness. As strange as it sounds, most of us tend not to worry about preparing for this final stage of our lives. The best way to be prepared for end-of-life care is to have already discussed how it will be dealt with well before the time comes. How do you do this?
The first step is to not put it off until tragedy strikes, and realize that it’s never too early to start talking about it. Using this handy conversation tree can help you or other caregivers ensure that all the important topics are covered so that you’re well on your way to properly planning for the day your loved one goes into hospice.
Don’t let fear delay this all-important conversation
It’s also important to realize that caregivers themselves are often the ones most afraid to bring up this already uncomfortable subject, not the seniors that are suffering. These adult “children” may be too afraid of imagining what life will be like without their loved ones to even broach the subject, even though 87% of seniors interviewed say that discussing end-of-life plans made them feel closer to their children.
Who you need to talk to
Besides talking with your loved one themselves about planning, you’ll also need to consult a number of healthcare professionals as the process progresses.
The first person you’ll want to talk to is your loved one’s primary care physician. As the main medical contact your loved one has, this doctor will be ground one for discussing the current health of your parent and the end-of-life care options that are most appropriate based on their health.
What sort of questions should you ask?
Your Primary Care Doctor
Start by asking about the progression process of your loved one’s terminal illness, asking for a relative timeline so that you have an idea of life expectancy.
If your loved one doesn’t yet have a terminal illness but is on a downward health spiral, inquire with your physician about an expected timeline before end-of-life care becomes inevitable.
Finally, look to the physician for guidance on the next steps in preparing your loved one for hospice. They can consult you on everything you need to do to get your loved one prepared for hospice care in advance.
A Financial Advisor & Lawyer
After you’ve spoken with your loved one’s primary care doctor, you will want to talk to a financial advisor about what you will need to do to prepare your loved one financially as they near the end of their life. These professionals can offer guidance on how their care will be paid for, how to structure their finances as the end draws nearer, and other questions related to finances. Sometimes, a lawyer can also be helpful at this time, advising you on how to navigate the intricacies of end-of-life planning like estate planning, death taxes, and other difficult but unavoidable topics.
Finally, you will want to talk to a variety of hospice providers to better understand the hospice care process, your options and everything that is involved. Remember that this is something you shouldn’t postpone until your loved one reaches an advanced and ailing age. Instead, make it a goal to periodically talk to hospice providers as well as the other professionals mentioned above at certain life milestones, like at ages 50, 75, and 90, so your end-of-life planning will remain actionable and up to date.
Need Help? Contact Us Today
Planning for hospice can be a confusing process. While this framework should help guide you during this process, sometimes you need a little extra help. If that’s the case, contact Hospice of South Louisiana today. Our experienced team of hospice nurses and physicians are ready to assist you during this process. Contact us today and get started on hospice planning now.