(The following is contributed by New Milford Visiting Nurse and Hospice to offer help to those with a loved one facing the end of his/her life).

When faced with an illness for which there is no cure possible, patients and their families experience a wide range of feelings, including fear, frustration and anger.

Here are a few ways to handle some of these family concerns.

"Dad won't even consider hospice, but the rest of us are on board. How do I start the conversation?"

Ask him how he wants to handle the remainder of his illness. This question helps set the tone for an honest discussion of your shared goals, and ultimately brings him closer to accepting hospice care.

"Every time we talk about bringing in Hospice, my husband makes me feel like I am giving up on him and I feel terrible. How do I start the conversation?"

Ask him to put himself in your shoes. Let him know you are doing the best you can for him.

You know he's in pain, but you don't know what else you can do to make him more comfortable and hospice care will help manage that pain.

"My mother's physician hasn't mentioned hospice, but I think it's time to bring it up. How do I start the conversation?"

Ask the doctor to review Mom's care options. If you are having this conversation with Mom, you then can discuss if any of these options are close to her personal wishes.

She may not know, so be prepared to discuss privately after the doctor visit.

"How do I explain hospice to my children, who are too young to really understand how sick their father is?"

Be honest with them. Tell them their father's body is starting to break down and it's no longer fixable.

The hospice nurses will make Dad more comfortable, and that will make him happier.

For more information, contact newmilfordvna.org, call 860-354-2216, visit 68 Park Lane Road in New Milford or email hospicehotline@newmilfordvna.org.

Deborah Matta

New Milford

Visiting Nurse

& Hospice