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4 Things to Keep In Mind When Talking to Children about Hospice Care

Moving your loved one into hospice care is one of the most difficult transitions you’ll face. This move involves a great amount of stress and emotions for everyone involved. The purpose is to provide your loved one with the comfort they need, but it can also be incredibly painful for friends and family. Adults can process these emotions on their own but a younger child might not understand what is happening and they’re going to need your guidance to help them through it.


There never seems to be a good time to talk to children about moving a loved one to hospice care. It’s not a conversation anyone wants to have, and you’d rather protect their young hearts as long as possible. However, it’s important to have conversations about hospice care with young people so that they can better understand what’s going on. Here are a few tips for having a difficult conversation about hospice care with children.


Just Start


The biggest hurdle to having a conversation about hospice with children is getting the courage to just speak. If you’re waiting for the perfect time or just the right opportunity, trust that it’s never going to happen. The only requirement for this conversation is that you’re able to minimize distractions so that the child can better focus on what you’re saying and feel comfortable asking questions.


Don’t Overcomplicate It


Children deserve and can handle honesty about this situation, but you need to be mindful of using language that they’ll understand and that doesn’t leave them confused. Avoid medical terms that they don’t understand and tailor the conversation to the child’s intellectual level. Be straightforward and don’t beat around the bush. If you take too long getting the point, a child’s short attention span is likely to have them wandering in a different direction.


Focus on the Care and Comfort of Your Loved One


Children, especially older ones, will likely have an understanding that your loved one’s health is deteriorating before you begin this conversation. Maybe they’ve witnessed it with their own eyes or their sensitive intuition has picked up on a shift in your emotions.


The simplest way to have this conversation is to focus not so much on what is happening medically with your loved one, but that hospice care is the next step that will provide the person with comfort they need during this time.


Give Them a Chance to Speak


It good to take control in the beginning of the conversation to get the dialogue moving in the right direction. After you’ve started talking and have explained the move to hospice, don’t drop the conversation abruptly or assume that the child understands everything you’ve said. Look for cues that they need more clarification and ask open ended questions that encourage them to talk.


Let Princeton Health Care Center Help Ease the Transition


When it’s time to move a loved one into hospice care, let us help ease the transition. We partner with local hospice agencies to give our residents who are on hospice care the end-of-life services they need. We’re here to help and provide comfort during this difficult time. Contact Princeton Health Care Center today to learn more.

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