Compassion is the central tenant of effective hospice care. Research backs up this concept: Analysis of compassionate care efforts found they increased both patient and caregiver satisfaction, improved safety, and reduced total costs.1
This compassion is critical when it comes to creating connections with hospice patient families. Uncertain about the process and unsure of next steps, family members want answers but can be unsure where to turn. Here’s a look at some of the most common questions families may have, and how hospice staff can dive into compassionate conversations.
What Does it Mean When Someone is in Hospice Care?
Patients typically make the move to hospice when they have six months or less to live. But family members — especially those who have irregular contact with their loved one — may not be familiar with the role of hospice care. Caregivers are encouraged to be prepared for questions around what this transition means. As noted by the National Institute on Aging, staff members can reassure families that the primary purpose of hospice care is to provide comfort. By focusing on this goal in conversations with family members, staff can start the process of creating compassionate connections.2
How is My Loved One Cared For?
Once a foundation of care is established, family members will often want more details about hospice operations. Staff will often be asked questions around treatment plans, the role of family in improving patient comfort, and the process of handling family concerns or complaints.3
Caregivers shouldn’t be surprised to hear these questions more than once from the same family members. While much of this information is often provided upon intake, the stress of having a loved one in hospice can make it difficult to remember key details.4 Hospice staff members can use this time to go over the details with families in a manner that is thorough and clear.
What Happens Next With My Loved One’s Treatment?
One of the most common questions asked by family members is what happens next with their loved one’s treatment. This can be a difficult conversation for caregivers because once patients have entered hospice, their treatment regimen focuses on comfort over cure.5 Here, compassion is critical and information is essential. Equipped with streamlined hospice software, staff can quickly pinpoint patient details and connect with family members face-to-face, rather than trying to track down key data while delivering difficult news.
When My Loved One Passes Away, What Resources are Available?
There’s no easy way to prepare for a loved one’s death. No matter how much time families have or how much information is provided, end-of-life comes with grief, pain, and stress.
As a result, caregivers may be approached with questions about any hospice services available to help ease this transition. With so many tasks to complete — funeral arrangements to property, pets, bills, and other legal obligations — help is always appreciated.6 This may include counseling options, support groups, or educational materials that provide constructive ways for families to express their emotions and help them navigate this new reality.
The right hospice software lets staff focus on what matters most — creating connections with patients and their families — instead of getting bogged down in the details. Discover how Net Health Hospice can help.
The Medicare Advantage VBID Model for Hospices: What to Know
1 National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “The Importance and Extent of Providing Compassionate Nursing Care,” March 28, 2019.
2 National Institute on Aging (NIA), “Frequently Asked Questions About Hospice Care,” February 8, 2021.
3 Hospice Foundation of America, “Choosing a Hospice: 17 Questions to Ask,” 2018.
4 Science Daily, “Severe Stress Behind Self-perceived Memory Problems,” August 31, 2017.
5 ResearchGate, “The Impact of Terminal Illness on the Family,” January 2016.
6 American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), “What to Do When a Loved One Dies,” June 11, 2020.