Starting Conversations with Loved Ones About End of Life

Dying is a universal experience. As a hospice provider, we talk a lot with our patients and families about opening up about death. Our Voice Your Choice program advocates for the wishes of our patients in their final days. Most of our conversations revolve around end-of-life planning as it relates to advance care planning and advance directives. However, the conversation can, and should, be so much more than that.

Discussing Death

According to The Conversation Project, how we want to die is the most important and costly conversation Americans aren’t having. Consider these facts:

  • 90% of people think it is important to talk about end-of-life wishes with their loved ones, but only 27% have done so, according to a 2021 study published in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services.
  • One in five respondents to a 2018 survey by the Conversation Project, which works to promote greater discussion of end-of-life care, said they’ve avoided the subject out of worry about upsetting their loved ones.
  • A sizable majority of people say they want to die at home, but 60% die in hospitals or institutions.

What do these facts tell us? They tell us that people know the value and the importance of having end-of-life conversations, but they still aren’t doing it. Are these conversations difficult to have? Yes. That’s why we’re here to help.

Starting the Conversation

Thinking about and planning your final days is never easy, but it’s an invaluable gift to your loved ones. Discussions about end-of-life care can be among the richest and most intimate that friends and family share and these conversations can give everyone a sense of certainty and empowerment. With the holidays approaching, some families use this as an opportunity to gather their closest loved ones and begin the conversation.

Sharing your wishes and plan for how you want to die is much easier at the kitchen table with your loved ones versus being in the ICU under the influence of stress, fear, and time. Wherever you are in life, the first step is getting started, and getting started early. Learn more about how to start a conversation about end of life here.

Broadening Your Approach

While most conversations may feel centered around end-of-life healthcare options, like receiving care at home or in a hospice care center, there’s more to consider. Legal considerations include determining power of attorney, drafting and finalizing a will and testament, and advance directives. These items help dictate how a person should be cared for and who can make decisions for them in the event that they are unable to do so on their own or after their passing.

Outside of legal considerations, sometimes end-of-life planning can come down to discussing things like funeral planning and how you want to be remembered. While it may seem difficult, consider how much easier things will be for your family if they can say goodbye knowing that your final wishes were carried out and your legacy can be remembered in the way you wanted.

Still struggling with how to start the conversation?


Hospice of Southwest Ohio Celebrates Life

At Hospice of Southwest Ohio, we know that every day is a gift. Our amazing team of professionals is passionate about delivering high-quality, compassionate care every day. Hospice of Southwest Ohio is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. Having tough conversations about the end of life doesn’t have to be scary. It’s never too early to begin researching your options as you age. Hospice care provides comfort, rather than a cure, at the end of your lifetime and focuses on enhancing the quality of life during final months and days. At Hospice of Southwest Ohio, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have about end-of-life care. Hospice of Southwest Ohio offers hospice, palliative and in-home primary care in and around the greater Cincinnati area in Clermont County, Butler County, Warren County, Hamilton County, Greene County, and Montgomery County. Call today at (513) 770-0820.

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