Preparing your loved one to live out their days in hospice care is a daunting task. Beyond the emotional stress and grief, there are the logistics of the matter. You may never have been through this before or even know anyone who has, so it can be extremely helpful to have some resources handy to guide you , and any family caregivers, to have a better idea of what to expect during this process. Arming yourself with knowledge will help you and your loved one to feel better prepared. Here is a list of things to consider when planning for your loved one’s time in hospice care.
This is typically one of the first things that pops into family members’ minds after learning they need to plan for hospice care for their loved one. Where are their financial accounts? What are their debts and bills? Working with a family accountant who can help you take inventory will go a long way.
Along with assessing the financial situation, the question of how your family will pay for their hospice care and other final expenses is also top of mind. Ask your loved one what kind of health insurance they use and try to have the policy information on hand if ever needed. In addition, it can be useful to ask if they have any life insurance or final expenses insurance. These policies will help with the financial burden of losing a loved one. Knowing the policy numbers will help to decrease reimbursement time.
It’s very important to inform health providers and caregivers of your loved one’s medical history including any major past health events allergies to medicine that may impact the treatments they receive and how they respond to them. This will give their doctor and nurse a better understanding of the right treatment plan for them.
What does your loved one need help with on a daily basis? Conducting an assessment of how independent your loved one is, including whether they are still able to drive a car or perform routine tasks around the house (such as cooking and bathing) will go a long way in mapping out what their care schedule will look like.
Daily Health Log
Consider keeping a daily health log to track and monitor any health changes you see in your loved one, as well as taking note of potential side effects of the different medications or treatments they may be receiving. This will help you to communicate with the entire hospice team (caregivers, health care providers, nurses, etc.) more effectively, so you can work as a team to determine any adjustments that need to be made in their care regimen.
Filing System for Personal Matters
One of the most stressful processes for a family preparing to lose a loved one is knowing what to do with all of their belongings. Do they have special wishes for jewelry, journals, family mementos and other cherished items? Make sure to take note of these things to help avoid conflict among the rest of the family.
Funeral Planning Form
This is arguably the least palatable step in the hospice process, but it’s of the utmost importance to fully understand your loved one’s wishes once they have passed. This includes planning for the funeral or memorial itself (if they want one), as well as what they would like their obituary to say and how other family and friends will be informed.
Take Care of Yourself
This may be last on your mind, but think about the support that you will need as you go through this taxing phase of life. Will you need regular emotional support from a therapist or clergy member. Planning for how you will take care of yourself to prevent depletion will help you to be more present for your dying loved one and the other people in your life.
Placing someone you love under hospice care is never an easy task—from an emotional, financial and logistical standpoint, there are so many things to think about that can make the process even more difficult if you don’t know what to plan for. Talking over the above list will help both you and your loved one to feel more prepared for what’s ahead.