When you have a serious illness, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information you hear, the choices you have to make, making appointments, taking medicine, dealing with side effects and a hundred other details. And, that does not include the emotional roller coaster for you, your family and your friends.
With all of that going on, it’s easy to put off planning for what happens if your 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 your treatment plan. Learn about hospice as one of the many options that you will have during your illness. Find out what your 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 you and your family:
Talk to your doctor
Ask lots of questions that start with “what if…” and tell your doctor about your concerns. Be clear on what you do and don’t want and make sure your doctor understands what you value. That will help your medical team guide you to choices. We have tips for talking to doctors.
Learn about your 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 your 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 you 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
Take care of your family
One of the biggest worries for people is how their family will cope with their illness. Find out what resources are available for your family members and include them in your planning.
Make a plan
Advance planning means making decisions about the future and putting in writing your wishes, just in case something happens and you are unable to speak for yourself.
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 you and 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
Quality scores from Deyta.
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 you and your family, to give you the information you need and answer your questions. Call anytime 816.363.2600 or contact us online.