Talking About Hospice With Your Family

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The VITAS Hospice Family Discussion Guide

How do you want to live the last months of your life? That’s a big question -- and one to talk about with your family.

Ideally, the conversation begins when everyone is healthy, with “what if…?” questions. You might talk about things like:

  • What if you’re sick and your body isn’t responding to treatment anymore?
  • What if you can’t speak? Who will speak for you and make decisions?
  • What if you end up in a coma? Do you want machines to keep you alive by breathing for you and getting food into your body?

An advance directive is a written plan that spells out the types of care you want—and do not want—at the end of life. Writing your wishes down gives your loved ones the tools they need to make informed decisions.

Making the Plan

Even if the patient can’t take part in the conversation because the illness is too far along, the family and people who care about the patient can still make plans for what comes next.

This is hard work, and it can be stressful and upsetting. Everyone may not agree on what is best. They can, however, agree to focus on the patient’s best interests and values. That approach will bring peace of mind for all.

How to Start

Choosing hospice gives you control over how and where you are cared for near the end of life. You and your loved ones can make well-informed choices about care, whether that’s in the future or right now. That’s why VITAS Healthcare provides this free hospice discussion guide to help you all agree on plans that will work for you.

Available in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Tagalog


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