When you visit a loved one or friend in hospice, you bring them something that goes beyond flowers or their favorite candy bar. You bring them the gift of your time.
Visiting someone in hospice can be difficult for many reasons; you are afraid they will longer look like the person you know; you realize it may be the last time you see them alive, and
you’re nervous you might say the wrong thing. Chances are, you’ve been thinking about the words to use, and you’re replaying them in your head on the way to your visit.
After 83 years of hospice care, we’ve learned some things about speaking with people in the final days of their lives. It doesn’t matter what you say because your presence is all that matters.
Showing up and taking the time to say “goodbye” means everything. And, when you avoid seeing loved one in hospice, you often miss out on beautiful and memorable moments.
Our Lady of Peace wants you to share beautiful moments with loved ones at the end of their lives, and we offer some insight on how to open that door:
- Sit to be at eye level.
- Greet the person as you always have, a handshake, a hug.
- Speak quietly and know most likely will too.
- Know that moments of silence are okay.
- Talk about shared memories. “What I’m going to remember is…………..”
- Express gratitude for what they’ve given you or brought into your life.
- Let the conversation go where they want to go.
- Ask if there is anything you can do to make them more comfortable.
- Plan to stay 15 minutes. If it’s going well and the person has enough energy, stay longer.
- The sound of your voice or the touch of your hand is enough.
Don’t be afraid to visit a loved one or friend on hospice care because your presence is all that matters. Your presence is a gift.