Considering comfort care for end-of-life is a very emotional subject that requires a high level of respect and understanding. The more parties involved in making the decision, the harder it can become. Here are a few tips to help guide you through the process smoothly for the best possible resolution:
Even if you have been considering the option of comfort care for a loved one a while, it is very important to have a structured conversation about the subject with the goal of reaching a formal decision. This conversation should be held somewhere private where all parties can be heard without feeling embarrassed. Most importantly, everyone you would like involved in the conversation must be physically present. You may also want to include a hospice representative or comfort care professional who can answer questions as they arise.
If your loved one is still actively engaged in the decision-making process, their wishes must be heard and centered. If they are not, it will fall on you and your family to determine what the patient would have wanted if given the choice. It is always better to plan this conversation sooner rather than later to give you and your family the best chance of reaching an agreement everyone accepts.
There are many options available for comfort care, so it is important that all parties understand what those options entail and what distinguishes them from one another. Ideally, you should send this information to everyone to review ahead of your discussion. This gives everyone time to read up on the decision, ask questions, and understand their own preferences and concerns before coming to the table.
As with any major health care decision, choosing a comfort care provider comes with long term implications. Whether you choose in-home comfort care or an in-patient facility, you will need to allot time and resources for continuing care. All parties should be on the same page when it comes to providing for your loved one and providing one another with support during this difficult transition period.
Most importantly, as you discuss comfort care options for your loved one, remember that choosing this path is about improving the quality of life for the patient first and foremost. When options are limited, making this decision can help everybody come to terms with the illness and make the most of the time that is left. Choosing comfort care is not a sign that you are giving up, and the discussion should show that comfort care puts the patient’s wellbeing at the center of the care regimen.
For more information about comfort care at home or with the help of a permanent facility, contact Wings of Hope today. Our patient care specialists will be happy to provide you with additional information about comfort care options that might be of use to you and your loved ones.