Wrapping your head around moving a loved one into hospice care can take some time, and this goes double for explaining hospice care to kids. When you’re explaining hospice care to your child here are a few things to keep in mind.
Just Start Talking- One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is often starting the conversation. It’s easy to keep waiting for the “right time”, but the reality is there will never be the perfect moment. Once you start the conversation, try to get to the point as soon as possible. Kids don’t have long attention spans, so try to not waste time beating around the bush. It’s also a good idea to use small words and avoid using complicated medical terms.
Defining Hospice- When explaining why you’re moving grandma or grandpa from the hospital into palliative or hospice care, the main points you need to communicate is how this will help the sick family member. Let your child know that this will make them much more comfortable and increase their quality of life.
Check For Misunderstanding- After you finish talking, ask if they have any questions about what’s happening. You might need to ask this in a few different ways to make sure they fully understand everything that’s happening. While you’re checking for questions, take time to reiterate that it’s okay to be sad and upset about this. Let them know you’re sad too and they can talk with you about what they’re feeling.
Watch for Cues- Finally, in the coming days watch out for certain cues that will show how well your child is dealing with everything. If they exhibit loss of appetite, mood swings, or loss of interest in things that use to excite them, it might be time for a follow up talk.
Explaining hospice care to kids isn’t something any parent is ever ready to do, but with these steps any parent can handle it. At CURA-HPC we want to be a resource to you and your family as you go through this difficult time. Our staff is highly skilled in taking care of both the medical and emotional aspects of end of life care.