Section: Barnabas Health Home Care and Hospice News

Discussing End-Of-Life Wishes with a Family Member


New Jersey – On Tuesday, April 16, 2013, Barnabas Health Hospice and Palliative Care Center, a Barnabas Health facility with locations in Long Branch, Newark, Toms River, and West Orange, support National Healthcare Decisions Day – a nationwide event to encourage people to engage in thoughtful advance healthcare planning and to encourage healthcare providers to honor those decisions.

Many families are uncomfortable bringing up the topic of final wishes. In fact, most people don't ever put their requests down on paper. Even though many Americans say they are in favor of advance directives, only few actually write them. Although it is a difficult conversation to initiate, it is important for caregivers to sit down with their loved one to discuss his or her wishes regarding end-of-life care and the measures they want taken in terms of life-sustaining treatment.

Barnabas Health and Palliative Care Center offers these suggestions to caregivers when approaching the topic of end-of-life care with a loved one:

  • If the person says they expect to overcome their illness, you can suggest that you still need to talk “just in case.”
  • You can acknowledge that although you feel awkward bringing up the topic, you would not feel comfortable if you did not inquire about their final wishes.
  • You can mention that a friend was anguished when his/her parent died because he/she had not made their preferences clear or written an advance directive.
  • To reduce uneasiness, you can say you want to make an advance directive for yourself and suggest the two of you complete them together.
  • For those who argue that it is bad luck or too painful to discuss what they want at the end of life, you should acknowledge the person's feelings of discomfort, but tell him/her that you do not want to be put in the difficult position of making a decision that may be very different from what he/she desired.

About Barnabas Health Hospice and Palliative Care Center
The health care team at Barnabas Health Hospice and Palliative Care Center has been privileged to serve more than 52,000 patients and their families during one of the most personal times of their lives. Specially trained experts in end-of-life care are honored to provide comprehensive and compassionate medical, emotional and spiritual care at a time when it is needed most. Our programs, which serve infants, children, adults and the elderly, honor the individual choices and values of each patient and family, while offering full access to the broad array of services provided by Barnabas Health. For more information, please visit

Date: April 9, 2013

Contact: Lisa Tortorello
Public Relations:

Categories: Hospice,Press Releases