How to Help a Hospice & Palliative Care Patient or Professional
Tips to help your loved one, friend, or colleague navigate the challenges of end of life care and symptom management
- Spread awareness
- Chat with your family and friends! Help create awareness and recognition in your community for hospice and palliative care by having conversations. Many people aren’t aware that palliative care can be provided to manage symptoms of a long-term illness, without being diagnosed with a life expectancy. Many also don’t know that both hospice and palliative care can be provided in the home, or wherever the patient feels most comfortable. Another important benefit that is often overlooked is that both Medicare part A and B cover hospice and palliative care. It is important to spread the word by sharing social media articles, posts, and supporting any hospice or palliative care workers or providers that you may know. Invite your friends to share stories of how their lives and families were impacted by hospice or palliative care professionals and continue to have open discussions about experience with end-of-life care.
- Create an end-of-life plan
- Have important conversations related to life planning with your family ahead of time. Creating an end-of-life plan in advance alleviates the stress and anxiety of scrambling to figure out a plan of action later as your loved one approaches their end of life. Most adults have the ability to make decisions about their preferences for treatment, but this can change over time as an illness progresses. If an advance care plan has not been created and a patient becomes too unwell to make their own decisions, this can cause added pressure to the family and loved ones. Advanced care planning also eases the job of your hospice care worker, allowing them to devote themselves to implementing your unique care plan exactly as desired.
- Send a gift
- Show your appreciation by sending a gift to a hospice or palliative care professional to let them know you care! Some easy gift ideas are gift cards, books, flower arrangements, heartfelt letters or cards, or a pin/jewelry relating to hospice or palliative care. Even a handwritten thank you note can go a long way in making a special impact for your hospice or palliative care worker.
- Provide positive feedback online or to a supervisor
- Inform your caregiver’s supervisor about the personalized care and support that was provided to you. Post a heartfelt review on the website or social media pages, sharing the story about the exceptional care your family received. These are some of the best ways to help your caregiver gain recognition and praise, thanking them for their dedication and compassion in all that they do.
- Donate to the cause
- Make an impact by donating! Any amount makes a difference. Easy donation options can be found at the Hospice Foundation of America website – https://hospicefoundation.org/Donate. HFA provides national support to improve hospice and grief knowledge, access, and care through education, free services for the public, and research. If you prefer to give your gift by specific location, you can also donate to your local hospice or palliative care provider.
- Learn more about hospice and palliative care
- National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is a great time to learn more about hospice and palliative care. It’s the perfect opportunity to gain knowledge in order to spread awareness, create more recognition in your community, and support your local care workers. Check out the informative links below to help educate yourself and others on the growing necessity of this essential form of care:
Informational Articles and Resources
- What are palliative care and hospice? – National Institute on Aging (NIA)
- National hospice and palliative care month – National Pace Association (NPA)
- Hospice care information – Hospice Foundation of America
- Resources and education for making informed care decisions – NHPCO
- Hospice care for Veterans – VA
- Palliative care for Veterans – VA
- More care resources for Veterans – IL-HPCO