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November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, and this year’s theme is Courageous Conversations.

This theme holds particular significance for us at Calvary, where we work to educate our community about the importance of honest communication about health care among loved ones.

We have created a Hospice and Palliative Care Resources area, which covers many of the topics and questions in more detail:

Hospice and Palliative Care Resources

Courageous Conversations about CalvaryCare®

It’s hard to talk about life and death. Everyone’s experiences, circumstances, and expectations are different. But these conversations are at the heart of experiencing quality CalvaryCare®. They require compassion, patience, bravery, empathy, vulnerability, and honesty among all participants.

Starting may be the most challenging aspect of having a Courageous Conversation with your loved one. We fear saying the wrong thing or hurting someone’s feelings. But without these conversations, feelings of distress, loneliness, and grief can also grow.

It’s important to remember our reactions to serious illness, death, and dying may be different than someone else’s. It depends on our attitudes, beliefs, and the relationship we have with the person who is dying. So, consider everyone’s feelings and be patient with each other.

These conversations matter and are needed to learn about and respect your loved one’s wishes.

How to start a Courageous Conversation?

  • Select an Appropriate Setting: Try to talk face-to-face, and if you can, schedule it at a comfortable and quiet place.
  • Ask for permission: Each of us copes with end-of-life issues differently. By asking permission to discuss this topic, you convey that you will respect the other person’s wishes. Listen to each other and be honest with your feelings.
  • Don’t feel you must talk every moment – silence can comfort and calm.
  • It’s okay to become emotional and feel vulnerable, but make sure you make time and space to breathe and consider each other’s feelings and reasoning.

In addition to resources on our website, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, sponsors of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, have excellent material to review and read through, such as their Conversations Before the Crisis booklet and their page about Talking with Others About Their End-of-Life Wishes.