When your family is dealing with a serious illness, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information you hear, the choices you have to make, making appointments, getting prescriptions, helping with care and a hundred other details. And, that does not include the emotional roller coaster for your family and your friends.
With all of that going on, it’s easy to put off planning for what happens if your loved one’s condition worsens or things change. Many people wait until choices are forced on them and they have little time to understand available programs and services, let alone understand what to look for in a provider.
We encourage people to understand what is means to have supportive or palliative care as part of the treatment plan. Learn about hospice as one of the many options that people have during an illness. Find out what the options are and what you need to know to choose a provider.
Here are some basic steps to help you make choices that are right for your loved one and your family:
Talk to the doctor
Ask lots of questions that start with “what if…” and tell your doctor about your concerns. Help your loved one to be clear on what they do and don’t want and make sure the doctor understands what they value. That will help your medical team guide you to choices. We have tips for talking to doctors.
Learn about the illness
Ask for literature, explore web sites, find organizations and look for support groups. There are many organizations that will help you learn more about the disease and to connect with other people in your situation.
Learn about palliative care and hospice
Some people still believe that palliative care and hospice are only for the last few days of life. That myth prevents many from receiving the benefits of care that improves the quality of life and helps people live longer. There are excellent resources for learning about these wonderful programs.
Get Palliative Care, What is Palliative Care?
Palliative Doctors, Palliative Care and Hospice
Mayo Clinic, What is Hospice Care?
Forbes, Common Myths of Hospice Care Debunked, February 25, 2015
Hospice Foundation of America, Dispelling Hospice Myths
Help make a plan
Advance planning means making decisions about the future and putting in writing those wishes, just in case something happens and someone is unable to speak for themselves.
Find out how to choose the right provider
There are many organizations here in Kansas City offering palliative care and hospice. What do you need to know to make the right choice for your family? Here are some resources to help guide you:
Consumer Reports, December 2014, A Beautiful Death
National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, Caring Connections, Choosing a Quality Hospice
Our expert staff is here to assist you at every point in your journey. Whether you have basic questions or you want help in choosing the right services for your situation, we’re here to help. We’ll come meet with your family, to give you the information you need and answer your questions. Call anytime 816.363.2600 or contact us online.