What Is the Role of Advance Directives in Hospice Care?

Hospice care helps families with support and end-of-life care for their senior loved ones.

Hospice care helps families with support and end-of-life care for their senior loved ones.

A big part of hospice care involves respecting and honoring the patient’s wishes and preferences, especially around end-of-life decisions. Because of this type of care’s compassionate and supportive approach, it’s incredibly helpful if seniors have everything spelled out as much as possible. That’s where advance directives can be incredibly helpful.


Understanding Advance Directives

Many people don’t know what advance directives are until they suddenly need them. These are legal documents that allow people to specify their wishes regarding medical treatments and other end-of-life care decisions before they need them.

There are many different types of advance directives, including living wills, do-not-resuscitate orders, and durable power of attorney letters. Most people talk to a legal representative to establish these types of directives.


Ensuring Patient Autonomy

One of the reasons that these documents are so important is that they help to ensure patient autonomy. Hospice care itself is devoted to keeping patients as autonomous as possible so they fit together well. Hospice care providers can take advance directive documents and include the information in care plans to ensure that they’re meeting the patient’s wishes.


Facilitating Family Conversations

It’s tough to talk about end-of-life decisions. That difficulty is often why so many people wait to make decisions about helpful services like hospice care, too. Advance directives can help families and seniors talk openly about end-of-life care preferences and what seniors want during that time of their lives.


Offering Peace of Mind

Often, seniors are worried about having their wishes honored when they can no longer advocate for themselves. Having advance directives in place offers tremendous peace of mind, including for family members who want to make sure they’re doing the right thing by the people they love.

These documents are legally binding, which ensures that seniors can spend quality time with the people they want to spend that time within their final days.


Supporting Hospice Care Planning

There are many decisions to make, even after seniors make the move to hospice care. Advance directives help to guide the planning of hospice care plans, making this planning easier. Family members and seniors work out decisions related to symptom management and other types of support well before they’re needed most.


Updating Directives as Necessary

Situations change very quickly, especially when someone is near the end of life. Advance directives aren’t written in stone. They can be changed when seniors change their minds or when the situations they’re facing change. Seniors aren’t locked into plans that no longer fit their needs.


When seniors are nearing the end of life, it can be helpful for them to consider what types of advance directives might best meet their needs. Hospice care can greatly help families, even if they don’t have advance directives in place yet. This type of hospice care, along with documented wishes, can offer a lot of peace of mind and support that families find valuable.



If you or an aging loved one is considering Hospice Care in Mclean, VA, please contact the caring staff at Butters Home Health Care today. (703) 371-2113