At the end of life, it’s important to address not only a person’s physical comfort and daily care, but also their emotional and spiritual needs. For Masonic Village Hospice staff, it’s also just as important to ease the uncertainties of those navigating end-of-life care with a loved one. It’s crucial for family members to know that they don’t have to walk alone through their hospice care journey. Here are five things family members can expect from end-of-life care with Masonic Village Hospice:
- An honest conversation about what is likely to occur.
Because the nature of end-of-life care is so personal, and each patient’s experience is unique, hospice staff make it their mission to keep families informed of the entire process – from details about care plans to the grieving process. It is our goal to address families’ thoughts, feelings and concerns each step of the way.
- A review of patient and family wishes.
To ensure the highest quality end-of-life experience, it’s essential that hospice patients have a say in how they want to be cared for. We encourage families to speak with their loved ones about their health care wishes and how they can work with hospice to best honor them. A review of advanced directives can be crucial in this process. Hospice works with patients and their loved ones to develop individualized care plans that keep the wishes and health care goals of the patient and family in mind. For more information, read Types of Advance Directives.
- Guidance in decision making.
Our staff are available to help families find the best ways to care for a loved one facing a limited life expectancy. Families receive information about: pain management options, signs and symptoms; if and how a patient can best receive care at home; personalized volunteer visits; the use of integrative therapies (like massage therapy, music therapy or aromatherapy); spiritual guidance; and more. In end-of-life care, there are many decisions to make. There are no right or wrong decisions – each decision is personal for the patient and their family.
- An opportunity for life review with your loved one.
Volunteers and spiritual care staff encourage families to partake in a life review with their loved one by providing questions such as: “How did you grow up?” “What do you love most about your family?” “Whom in your life would you like to forgive?” “What legacy do you wish to pass onto your children?” “What lessons do you hope your children have learned?”These questions can help both the patient and the family have meaningful conversations during the end-of-life process. Life review can offer opportunities for the patient to participate in a peaceful “life completion” and the family to start the grieving and healing process.
- Bereavement support.
Many families say Masonic Village Hospice staff feel like honorary members of their family during the care their loved ones receive, and oftentimes, for years afterward. Hospice staff maintain relationships with families long after a loved one passes away, in an effort to help them throughout the grieving process. Bereavement support is available for families through individual and group sessions, newsletters, personal phone calls and support packets with information on what to expect during the grief cycle and tips on managing and healing. A hospice bereavement coordinator helps families understand and navigate their individual grief process. Families are also invited to celebration of life events throughout the year.
The decision to choose hospice care and the journey that follows can be complicated, but you don’t have to do it alone. Caregivers, spiritual care staff, volunteers, social workers and bereavement support specialists will walk alongside you throughout your end-of-life experience with your loved one.