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How do I start the conversation about hospice?

Talking about hospice care does not mean you can’t do anything else for the patient. It doesn’t mean there is no hope. It can actually be comforting to know there is another source of help and support.

Consider talking about hospice as giving your patients information about all the options available. By talking about hospice, you are helping them choose what might be best and when. Your patients trust you. Your endorsement of hospice care will go a long way in giving them confidence to learn more.

Who should I talk with?

The conversation about hospice and end-of-life care could include just the patient, or the patient and a trusted family member.

When should I start the conversation?

It’s never too early to discuss end-of-life wishes with patients. Consider discussing the option of hospice when discussing advanced health care directives.

Many events can trigger a conversation about hospice care, including:

  • You determine a patient has a terminal illness
  • Your patient has experienced repeated trips to the emergency room or hospitalizations
  • You notice a steady or significant decline in your patient’s condition, or the patient or a family member has indicated the same
  • Your patient or a family member is discouraged by, tired from, or requests no further treatment
  • Your patient expresses a desire to be comfortable, stay where they are, get support for his/ her family, or is concerned about rising medical bills resulting from treatment
  • Your patient or a family member asks about hospice care


Visit our resources section for specific tips on what to say during your discussion.

We can provide answers to the common questions you might have: