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Talking with your patients…

For medical professionals, nurses, and physicians who are trained to heal patients, it is often difficult to accept that a cure is no longer possible. Discussing imminent death with patients and their families is challenging, no matter how many times you have to do it in your career. Time constraints often restrict your ability to facilitate meaningful end-of-life conversations. We recommend highlighting a few key points when you introduce the option of hospice to your patients:

  • Hospice care helps manage pain and improves quality of living
  • Medicare covers hospice, which gives patients a larger care network and 24/7 support
  • A referral to hospice is not the end of the physician/patient relationship because primary care doctors can stay involved as they see fit
  • At Comfort Care Hospice, we respect primary care physicians as our partners

 

hospice discussion guide

Set the stage

Create an understanding and comfortable environment for the patient. Sit at eye level if possible.

Assess the patient’s understanding of their disease

Ask if the patient has noticed their condition changing over time and what has been most difficult for them.

Explain the disease process after addressing understanding gaps

“We’ve tried many treatments unsuccessfully. At this point, what I am seeing is that your condition may not improve. Although we cannot cure your condition, there is a lot we can do to manage it.

Assess patient goals

“If you had a choice of going back to the hospital or being cared for at home which would you choose?”

Introduce hospice care

“You may qualify for a Medicare service which helps manage symptoms and treat pain. Hospice provides the medical equipment you need, medications associated with your diagnosis with no copays, nursing visits, 24-hour on-call nursing and physician consultation, and an aide to help with bathing when and if you need it. Is this a service you would be interested in?”

Identify gaps in understanding hospice

Do you have any concerns regarding hospice care?

Address concerns

Listen to the patient, answer questions, and dispel fears if needed.

Make a Comfort Care Hospice referral

Ask, “May I have hospice contact you so you can learn more? No need to make the decision today, however, it is It is important for you to look at your care options.”

Close the conversation gracefully

Let the patient know that you want to hear about how their hospice meeting goes.