Compassionate Communication… Provide family with a list of commonly asked questions

Compassionate Communication… Provide family with a list of commonly asked questions

Life & Death Matters Post

Forbes Hospice recognizes that friends and family often have similar questions.  Their hospice team developed a Question Prompt Sheet (QPS) which they can give to family and friends.  The QPS encourages families to ask questions, helps them to identify what questions they might want to ask, helps stimulate them to think of other questions they want to ask, and helps staff prepare to respond.

Questions include but are not limited to:

  •  Who can I call if I have questions or need help?
  • How can I help the children understand what is happening?
  • What do I do if family members disagree about treatment?
  • What are the risks of the treatment my loved one is receiving?
  • What are the common side effects of my loved one’s medications?
  • How do I know if my loved one is in pain?
  • Will the pain medicines stop working if used too often?
  • Will my loved one need IV (intravenous) fluid?
  • What can I expect when my loved one is dying/what does dying look like?

In additional to benefiting the families and friends, the health care team can develop education for staff based on the common questions that are asked.  Staff can explore ways to respond in the context of their role on the health care team. In addition to helping staff respond appropriately, they can also develop a more consistent approach.

What questions did you want to ask when your loved one was in hospice?

Did you ask your questions?

What value do you see in having a Question Prompt Sheet?

What value do you see in adapting a Question Prompt Sheet for your facility/team?


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Courtney Murrell is a PSW who works in hospice palliative care.

When she is not at work, she is spending time with her family, going on hikes or writing. Courtney is a lifelong learner and loves to share her passion for writing as a wellness practice.

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