Resources for Difficult Conversations

Resources for Difficult Conversations

Talking about illness and end of life issues is uncomfortable for most people, even for medical professionals. Within a family, it can create much anxiety and stress. But, silence can be even worse. If your loved one can no longer communicate their needs and desires, how will you make decisions that honor their wishes? What if other family members don’t agree with those decisions? It may be uncomfortable now, but imagine how much worse it would be to second guess what mom would have wanted when your brother is pushing for one treatment and your sister for another. Imagine asking your mom to go by dad’s written wishes when she wants to follow her heart.

Many people do not put their wishes into writing and, if they do, they don’t communicate their wishes to the entire family. It’s often only when the worst case scenario happens that discussions happen, when it’s the worst time possible for people to think things through and find agreement. Legal professionals, family counselors and clergy all agree that the time to talk through options is early, when a serious illness is discovered. It’s not just creating a will and assigning someone to make medical decisions. It’s a time to talk about how people want to live, what treatments they want and don’t want, and what they want their family to do.

Remember that things change. If you have begun to discuss things early and keep having discussions along the way, you can make adjustments to the plan.

Our team will help you and your family to begin difficult conversations, be a resource for the information you need to make decisions, help you communicate, and support your family emotionally and spiritually.   Here are some of the things you’ll want to work on:

  • Have you discussed various treatments?
  • Under what conditions should you stop treatment?
  • Has the entire family been informed about wishes and desires?
  • Is the doctor aware of wishes and desires?
  • Who is going to make decisions and speak for the patient if they can’t speak for themselves?
  • Is that person fully informed on what that means and the legal responsibilities?
  • Is there an advance directive such as a living will or durable power of attorney for health care?
  • Have you talked about possible organ donation?
  • Is there a will?

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has some excellent tips:

Talking with Your Loved Ones. CLICK HERE

What to Do if Family Members Disagree CLICK HERE

Talking with Others about Their End-of-Life Wishes CLICK HERE

Our Programs

There's a long list of hospices in Kansas City, but there's only one Kansas City Hospice. Our programs provide comprehensive expert care for all ages at all stages of serious illness.

Hospice

When the focus shifts to comfort instead of treatment, care comes to your home or nursing facility with a plan tailored to your needs, including emotional and spiritual support for the whole family.

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Hospice

Palliative Home Health

When complex needs benefit from a team approach, supportive home care brings the care you need, with 24/7 nurse support for pain, stress and symptoms due to serious illness.

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Palliative Home Health

Advanced Illness Support

Beginning as early as diagnosis and at any stage of serious illness, our nurse practitioners make home visits every 4-6 weeks to help coordinate your care and provide expert pain and symptom management.

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Advanced Illness Support
Hospice House

Hospice House

When symptoms cannot be easily managed at home, two hospice houses provide 24/7 expert care in comfortable home-line settings where family members can be relieved of caregiving duties to focus on loved ones.

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Carousel

Carousel provides palliative and hospice care for perinatal and for babies through young adults with a dedicated team of pediatric nurses, social workers, chaplains and other specialists.

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Carousel
Solace House

Solace House

Our center for grief and healing supports individuals and families who have been impacted by the death of a loved one, whether anticipated, or sudden and unexpected. We provide opportunities to share, listen, learn and heal with peer group support from age 3 through adult.

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