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As a caregiver, you may have noticed a change in your loved one's condition. Perhaps your parent's illness has advanced to the point where treatments don't seem to have the effect they once did. You may be wondering if end-of-life care is the right option—and what's the best way to get the conversation started.
Although most people are aware of the benefits hospice and paliative care provide, it can be difficult for a patient and family members to acknowledge that end-of-life care may be the right choice for themselves or their loved one. If you think your parent might be resistant, how do you bring up the subject?
Amy Newman, RN and CHPN with VNSNY's end-of-life care, suggests that you start by acknowledging the topic's difficulty. "Saying 'I'm going to ask you a few sensitive questions,' helps to let your loved one know that you're bringing up a delicate but important topic, and it reminds you to address the subject with kindness and compassion."
As a hospice and palliative care nurse, Newman often has similar conversations with patients and families who are considering end-of-life care. By focusing questions on your parent's desires and needs, and how he or she is feeling, you'll find out what is important to him or her. If your parent is undergoing cancer treatment, you might ask:
Remind your parent—and any other family members—that choosing end-of-life care will allow your family to make the most of your loved one's time as the illness advances. Rather than thinking of it as "giving up," think of it as choosing to enjoy the people you love, in familiar surroundings.
You may wish to discuss hospice with your parent's doctor, who can make the referral to end-of-life care from VNSNY, or for more information, call VNSNY at 212-609-1900. Our staff will take care of everything, from assessing eligibility to verifying insurance coverage. Our primary concern is providing your loved one with the comfort and dignity that he or she deserves.
For more information about end-of-life care from VNSNY, please call 212-609-1900.