Visiting someone in a hospice

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  • Visiting someone in a hospice
  • cynic-al

    Nope but your approach sounds reasonable, he’s not going to want any drama.


    Do it asap if you are planning to do this. People can go down hill far far quicker than you might expect.


    yes, don’t bother preparing anything, you’ll probably forget it anyway. i’d dreaded seeing a former band member before he died, he went to china for experimental gene therapy (didn’t work) and when he came back i went to see him. he’d gone from a fairly uptight chap who frowned a lot and didn’t seem to let his hair down at all, to someone who seemed to be quite happy about the whole situation, as if he’d come to terms with it and a great weight was off his shoulders. its a shame it took something like cancer to make him seem happy. good luck and just be honest, to be fair in the scheme of things it could happen to any of us, at any time, and will


    I spent a night a few weeks ago looking after a chap who was dying, and it was one of those nights at work I will remember for a long time, which is saying something, cos I’ve been doing it for 25 years.

    Once he had decided that he was OK with it, it was interesting to sit and talk with him about how he viewed it, how he felt about what was going to happen, how he had lived his life and so on.

    Just go and be yourself, don’t tip toe around the subject, don’t let there be an elephant in the room.

    Try to put yourself in his shoes; what would you want to say, what would you want someone to say to you.

    Get in there, give him a visit to remember, and make sure you remember it too.


    As has been said go quick, he knows why he’s there so just be your normal self with him. Uncle passed away in Rotherham Hospice 10 days ago we just sat and chatted to him. Got the occasional open eyes and hand squeeze when we asked a question or joked around. He also “relaxed into it” as the consultant described it. But most of all go and go ASAP,


    Don’t think about what to say. Just go. As soon as you possibly can.

    I’m stating the obvious perhaps, but you will regret it far more if you put it off and miss them altogether. I speak from experience.


    is now in a hospice, I rather think that this means he is quite close to death

    I did think this, but apparently it’s not always the case, Hospises can be used to give respite to relatives but definitely not alway used when your on deaths door.
    In your case, I think that might not be the case though.

    Having gone through this of late.. they do not want you wailing at their bedside, go see them definitely but go and try to keep yourself together as much as you can, for them.

    Hospices are thoroughly under valued ( lacking more and more official support), their services for ppl close to end is much better than hospitals.


    Before you visit and get any ‘secrets’ off your chest, just make sure he’s there for end of life care.
    Hospices provide more than just a bed for the dying.
    My wife’s hospice has a target set by the local NHS trust’s that less than 1/3 of people admitted on the first occasion are there for end of life care. Their funding from hospitals is based partly on this.
    They are all Specialist Pallitive Care units.
    Fantastic places who can only do what they do because they’r not part of the NHS Meat Market.
    If you have one local to you. Give them some money or volunteer. Even if it’s just shaking a bucket at a local event for an hour.


    Can’t add anything more to what crikey says, so, crikey +1


    Found out yesterday that a friend of mine, with inoperable cancer, is now in a hospice. I rather think that this means he is quite close to death. I’d quite like to visit him one last time, before, well you know… It’d mean flying up first thing then flying back in the evening, which is ok.
    The thing is, I haven’t quite worked out in my head how to treat him when I get there. I’d like to just spend some time with him and remember the good bits and take along some momento’s.
    Anyone else been in this situation?

    Premier Icon easygirl

    A friend of mine was in your situation about 2 years ago with his friend, put the visit off for a week and his friend died, he’s regretted that delay ever since


    I would suggest speaking to the family first, get some info about his condition and if he wants visitors, if there is anything you can bring for him.


    aP, he is still a freind and obviously you fel for him, and hopefully him for you,just approach it as a day out to see a mate, be yourself,chat laugh and cry if needed.

    Most of all take in memories and take more out, been there and done it.

    oh and when you walk out go somewhere quiet and cry your eyes out it helps.

    Premier Icon jamj1974

    My father died in hospital in the spring after a sudden decline in his illness. We had time to talk about all the good times and we both enjoyed it. Go to see your friend, see how he is and if you are both ready, talk about what you have shared. Also only if he would appreciate it and you would be comfortable with it – you could tell him what your relationship has meant to you….

    Go now, whilst there is still time.



    Treat this opportunity as a chance to reminise, remember.

    Ask him if there is anything that he’d like you to do. Anything and you will do it in his honour.


    Ask him if there is anything that he’d like you to do. Anything and you will do it in his honour

    ..and hope to God he doesn’t have a wicked sense of humour….

    Premier Icon bigad40

    Just get there and talk like you would in the car park after a ride.
    He’s still your mate.


    My brother and I took it in turns to go and see our Dad in hospital, as it took 10 weeks for him to pass. We had some hard times, light times and I value those times dearly now when I look back. We didn’t know he was dying so the conversations were slightly different. However on his last night I still believe he knew as I had the weirdest conversation ever.

    Sorry for rambling and doesn’t help the OP.



    As above, go as soon as you can and just be yourself. A good friend of mine died a couple of years ago now from cancer. Two of us went to down to the hospice to see him and were worrying about what to say/do. In the end we just sat and chatted, had a laugh, and said our goodbyes. I’m so glad I went, we almost put it off til the weekend but he was gone by then.

    Premier Icon dawson

    @ pschobiker +1 –my dad passed away in a hospice in, I was at his bedside, I know where you are coming from.

    its getting dusty in here…

    Premier Icon unklehomered

    As others have said, ring the family, or if that’s not possible ask the nurses when you get there. They have a way of being very honest with out saying anything. Actually saying stuff can undo people, but believe what they are telling you. My Mum passed just over a month ago, and even though they had said 6 weeks I still didn’t really believe as she was sat talking to me and walking about etc. They called it to within 3 days.

    Be Jolly, talk about the things you would normally talk about, share some memories, you may have to be most of the conversation. Be ready for him to look different, he may have trouble speaking and communicating, depending on medication/painkillers. It’s a hard thing but you will be glad you went. I watched so many people hold it together when visiting my mum and then crumble before they made it to the door. Sorry, not particularly helpful. But I guess my point is you will find the strength when you are there, but be prepared for it to leave once you are on your way home. Sun glasses can be a useful thing to have with you. All the best, hope it goes a well as can be.


    There is no easy way to see someone you love in a hospice. you just have to bite the bullet and see him/her. Write a note you have to. Stay as long as you are comfortable with.

    Being jolly, is difficult. Maybe be respectful. If they want to shoot the breeze then maybe but you may find a person who is incapable of speech and opening their eyes. You may have to talk and hold hands and that is about it. It will be tremendously difficult.

    I would strongly recommend writing down all the things that you want to say because it is difficult situation to deal with let alone talk through.


    unklehomered’s got it covered. you will find strength to deal with the situation appropriately when you’re with your friend. any previously constructed idea of how it will go will change when you in there.

    just be what you are, a friend. it’s all you can be, it’s all your friend will want.


    As has been said – find out why he is there. My dad went in because he was in extreme pain (cancer related) and was slowly deteriorating. We all (including him) had an expectation that he would get home, though we suspected it wouldn’t be for long (perhaps a couple of months). Things just went badly and he was comatose before we really had a chance to talk much. All the time he was in, he was the life and soul of the ward. No depression or anything.

    With my Mum, it was very different. She wanted to stay at home as long as possible and when she arrived at the hospice (heavily drugged) she recognised it on the way in. From that point,she knew there was no getting out. In the short time she was there, we mainly just sat and held her hand carrying on our own conversations with her in the room. I like to think that, even though she wasn’t responsive, she knew we were with her.

    Anyroadup – there you have two completely different scenarios. 😆

    I’m afraid you’ll mostly have to “wing it” when you get there.


    Well, I was hoping to go up next Tuesday but it’s his birthday and they’d rather I didn’t. Actually they’re hoping he’ll live that long.
    Didn’t get home from work until 10 so too late to call his parents. Will speak to them tomorrow morning and see about getting a flight up on Thursday.
    Thanks for comments.


    Give the psychological support nurse a ring or ask to see him/her before you visit if you think it will help. That’s what they are there for and remember, dying is the most natural thing we’ll do.

    Premier Icon lowey

    Nothing to add to all the good advise on this thread, but just wanted to say go. Go and see him soonest.

    All the best.


    My friend died from mouth cancer, she was at home. I used to visit her roughly once a week. I let her lead the conversation. Sometimes she wanted gossip from work and to talk about the next year’s holiday plans and her daughter’s prospective wedding. She would make jokes about the scars, holes and burns in her neck, mouth and face.

    When her husband went out with their dogs she wanted to cry and be sad. She didn’t want to do the negative stuff when her daughter and husband were around. She wanted to “be strong” for them. She was glad of the opportunity to voice the negative thoughts to me.

    It was tough and I was glad when she died. A merciful release for her and her family.

    Some people have accepted they are dying and want to talk frankly about it, and some are in denial and want to talk about plans for the future. I agree with the poster above, wing it.

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