Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is dying painful?

The amount of pain depends on many things, including the diagnosis and someone's pain threshold and fear. Pain is not always a big issue when dying. Sometimes other symptoms like labored breathing is more prominent. What ever the symptoms, good hospice or palliative care can make the patient as comfortable as possible.

How will I know when it's the right time for hospice?

Most people say they wish they had started hospice sooner. It you have a life-limiting illness, it is never too soon to talk to your health care provider about hospice care, especially if you want to focus on comfort and are not seeking curative treatment. You can also call your local hospice for information and guidance.

I'm afraid if I give morphine it will make my loved-one die. Is that true?

No. A patient is only given the dose of morphine or other opioid that effectively controls the pain or breathing problems. Some people are on morphine for months. People die from their illnesses not morphine, which helps them die in comfort.

What if I am unable to care for my loved-one?

Not everyone can be a caregiver. It is very hard work and it takes a team. Having hospice involved will make it easier, but you will most likely need caregiver help through family members, friends or paid help. If you cannot care for the patient at home there are options such as foster homes and skilled nursing facilities. Your hospice social worker or local senior services can help you.