End-of-Life Care Tip: Participating in Tough Conversations
Sharing what’s on our hearts with those we love is never more important than when someone is nearing the end of life. There are often unspoken sentiments and unresolved issues that, once verbalized, can bring peace and a deeper connection with our loved ones in their final days.
As Dr. Jessica Zitter, physician in critical and palliative care medicine at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA explains, “Those are opportunities for people to take stock and say, ‘I want to be more intentional about how I want to relate to people in my life.’ Death should really be seen as the last opportunity that you have to make amends and clean things up before you’re in the next world, wherever that may be.”
When a loved one in hospice care decides the time is right to share his or her feelings, it can be overwhelming, and family members may be inclined to turn the conversation to something less emotional in an effort to help their loved one stay calm. However, it’s important to allow the person to express whatever he or she chooses and to be as supportive and encouraging as possible, rather than brushing these feelings under the rug.
A third party professional, such as a member of the hospice care team, can help guide those nearing the end of life and their family members in a meaningful conversation; and the sooner this can occur, the better. Dr. Zitter clarifies, “I see so many patients who get caught off-guard by those final days, to the point where something happens, they deteriorate; they can’t speak anymore; they aren’t alert. You don’t want to wait until those final days because it may be too late by then.”
As the leading provider of hospice care in Pleasanton, CA and the surrounding areas, our compassionate care team at Hired Hands Homecare is always here to spend time with and listen to those nearing the end of life. We can also help in a variety of other ways to ease this difficult time for family caregivers, such as:
- Meal planning and preparation
- Light housework and laundry
- Running errands like picking up prescriptions or grocery shopping
- Respite care
- And more
Contact our hospice care team any time online or call us at (866) 940-4343 for a trusted partner in end-of-life care, allowing you and your loved ones the opportunity to focus on spending quality time together with professional in-home supportive services.