It is sometimes difficult to discuss serious medical issues with your patient. Nonetheless, it is part of the physician’s responsibility toward the patient. Discussing hospice is particularly difficult, because it means that death is now unavoidable. Some people dislike the subject because they feel that hospice means giving up hope, or that “nothing else can be done.”
The true purpose of hospice is to do all that can be done after curative measures are no longer useful.
It is often easier to explain hospice as an option of care when the patient’s disease first begins to worsen, not as a last resort when other options have been exhausted.
Discussing hospice may be difficult, but most patients wish to know the truth about their illness, allowing them to plan for their future. These conversations can often turn out to be surprisingly rewarding for the physician and patient.
If you have any questions about how to discuss hospice care with your patient, please call Dr. Jim Boal at Angela Hospice (866) 464-7810.