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Making End-Of-Life Decisions As a Family: What You Need To Know

Making End-Of-Life Decisions As a Family: What You Need To Know


You’re probably reading this because someone close to you has been given a terminal diagnosis. You may wonder how you can comfort this person, prevent them from suffering, and provide the best quality of life possible in their remaining time. It may not be easy to think about what lies ahead, but we’re here to talk you through the important aspects of end-of-life care, and what you can do to best support the person you love. 

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice is a compassionate, patient-centered approach to medical care which provides physical, emotional and spiritual support for people who are at the end of life’s journey. It is based on a philosophy of improving the patient’s quality of life when quantity of time is limited.

At Interim HealthCare of the Twin Cities, we provide a full range of hospice services that are delivered by highly qualified professionals who share the same goal - to manage pain and other symptoms so patients can live every remaining moment to the fullest.

What Are the 5 Priorities of Hospice Care?

  • Recognizing that someone is dying
  • Communicating sensitively with them 
  • Involving them in decisions
  • Supporting them and their family
  • Creating an individual plan of care that includes addresses nutrition, hydration, and medication

Where Can Hospice Care Be Provided?

As a healthcare provider, one of the most common questions we hear about end-of-life care is in regards to location. Care and comfort during these times is especially important - both for you and for your loved one. And the benefit of receiving hospice care in a preferred location can often be immeasurable. 

Thankfully, hospice care can be provided in a flexible location, based on the needs of your loved one and your family. Here are some of the locations where hospice care is most often provided:

  1. Hospitals

    Individuals with advanced-stage disease may already be in the hospital for treatment. When it makes sense for both the individual and his or her family, hospice care may be provided for them in the hospital. 

    If (or once) an individual feels well enough, he or she may wish to transfer to in-home hospice care, or another option, to provide the most-possible comfort and support. 

  2. Dedicated hospice facilities

    Inpatient hospice facilities are dedicated solely to providing hospice care, and can be a viable option for individuals without family caregivers or other support systems. 

  3. Nursing Homes

    Some nursing homes may have dedicated hospice units and specially-trained hospice nurses available for residents who require special care. 

  4. Assisted living centers

    Similar to nursing homes, assisted living and other forms of senior living may also offer in-house hospice services, or may have relationships with outside home health and hospice care providers to ensure their residents are able to receive skilled, compassionate hospice care. 

  5. At home

    During a difficult time for everyone, there is no better place to receive skilled, compassionate hospice care and support than at home. Our patients and their families have found that choosing in-home hospice care helped ease what was an incredibly difficult time. It's nearly impossible to replicate the comfort of home, and at a time when you and your family need comfort the most, home hospice care is so important. 

    To learn more about caring for a loved one in hospice, download our free Hospice Care Giver’s Guide.

The Importance Of a Care Plan

Having a care plan in place will be really important in ensuring your loved one’s wishes are respected as much as possible. A care plan summarizes a person’s health conditions, medications, health care providers, emergency contacts and end-of-life care wishes. A care plan may also include your loved one’s preferences for after they die, such as their funeral arrangements. It’s not uncommon for the entire family to want to be involved in a person’s care plan at the end of life.

Making Decisions

In most cases, it’s helpful for medical staff to have one person as the main point of contact. Even if one family member is named as the decision-maker, it is still a good idea to have a family agreement about the care plan. If family members can’t agree on end-of-life care or they disagree with the doctor, your family might consider working with a mediator. A mediator is a professional trained to bring people with different opinions to a common decision. Clinicians trained in hospice care often conduct family meetings to help address disagreements around health care decisions.


Compassionate Care When Your Loved One Need It Most

Here at Interim HealthCare of the Twin Cities, we are proud to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support to not only our hospice patients, but their families too, all at home.

If you’d like to get in touch with any hospice care questions you may have, we’d be more than happy to help.

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