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Family Conflict — How You Can Navigate The Needs of Your Loved One and Your Family

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When a loved one requires end-of-life care, it’s completely normal for conflict to arise within their family. At Envision Hospice, we understand that each family member wants the best care for their loved one. We also know that one person’s idea of the best care might look very different from someone else’s idea. When faced with family conflict in end-of-life care, you can count on your Envision Hospice team to help guide you towards peaceful resolution.

End-of-life care can bring up all kinds of feelings, conversations, and unique dynamics between family members. This is a tender season of life. A family may be facing big decisions regarding the health, care, and passing of their loved one. It’s only natural that conflicts arise during this time. As with any big life change, anticipating the death of a loved one is hard. It also requires that family members put the needs of their loved one before their own needs, even in the midst of these big feelings and changes. 

When a family can agree to overcome their differences and share the goal of taking care of their loved one, a great plan of care can be carried out.

As you work with your team to craft the best plan of care, your family may share their own opinions, experiences, and expectations regarding hospice care. We know that this may be stressful or cause you to rethink or question the decisions you’ve made with your loved one. This is normal. Keep your shared goal in mind: to provide the very best care for the person facing the end of life. 

We encourage you to have these conversations with family, even though they may be difficult. Family conflict in end-of-life care can provide opportunities to both listen and share your own thoughts and feelings. Remember that this is a sensitive time for you and your family. You can acknowledge the concerns and emotions of those close to you and maintain the best plan of care for your loved one at the same time. 

Our Envision Hospice team encourages you to engage in intentional conversations about your loved one’s care. To help you get started, here are some tips from our team:

  • Give each person time to talk, and use active listening. Even if you disagree with an opinion or if someone is simply venting, it’s important that each person feels heard. Everyone has feelings and thoughts, and these are important. Simply acknowledging and listening to these feelings or ideas can help bring a family closer to resolution. If you’d like, try repeating back what someone has said to show them you’ve understood. Even if the family doesn’t agree with or choose the plan suggested, each person has been listened to and seen.
  • Use positive family dynamics and unity to overcome past conflicts. This is the time to focus on the best for your loved one and put past differences aside. Family members may be calling, meeting in person, or using social media to give their input. It’s easy to let old fights or behaviors resurface in the stress of this season. Remember that your family’s goal is to help your ill family member be comfortable, healthy, and loved during their time in hospice care. If you can, do your best to keep past conflicts in the past for now. 
  • Keep your loved one’s comfort your priority — consider their perspective. We understand that family conflict in end-of-life care can arise from anticipating your loss. Waiting for your loved one to die may bring up sorrow, anger, and grief. Don’t lose sight of their needs, though. They may have physical, emotional, or spiritual matters of their own and they may need your help to work through them. Let your love for them steer you towards the right plan of care. 

Managing the emotions, ideas, and conflicts of your family and loved one during this time may feel overwhelming. You don’t have to face this season alone. Our team at Envision Hospice is waiting to help you navigate this unique time with open arms. We want to help your family unite and walk through this together. By listening to each family member, overcoming past conflicts, and keeping the perspective of your loved one in mind, we hope that your family will be able to join together as a team. Looking for more guidance on having these family conversations? Envision Hospice is here to help. If you’d like to speak to one of our caring and understanding team members, please contact us here anytime.

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