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A woman and a hospice patient pose for a photo outside in Torrance, CA.


Agape Hospice & Palliative Care has a list of tips on what to say when visiting someone in hospice. It can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s normal not to know what to say or do when someone you once saw on a semi-regular basis is now in hospice. You can do various things that will bring comfort and joy to someone in hospice care. We want to help you help your loved ones who are in hospice, so to do this, we’ve gathered some tips for visiting someone in hospice.

Timing Is Important

When visiting someone in hospice, it’s a good idea to plan. When planning your visit, it’s a good idea to stay about 15 minutes and to arrive when your friend or loved one is feeling most energetic—be it morning, midday, or night. The patient, as well as the hospice staff, can provide you with information that should help you determine when the best time to visit might be. On the day of your visit and before your arrival, it’s a good idea to call and double-check that it’s still a good day to visit. While there, keep an eye on the clock. Hospice patients tend to tire quickly, so it’s essential to be mindful of any cues the patient might be giving you, so you don’t overstay your welcome.

Never Take Anything Said or Done Personally

If the hospice patient you are visiting doesn’t thank you for a gift or card you might have brought them, don’t take offense. The patient may be too tired to display a response. Additionally, they might not be feeling well. When you visit a hospice patient, that patient is your guide. Your job is to be present now and to remember you are there for them, not the other way around. Those who are in hospice are inflicted with a life-limiting condition, which is bound to stir up a wide range of emotions for both you, the visitor, and the patient. Ultimately, it’s about showing up and showing that you care.

What to Say When Visiting Someone in Hospice

We encourage those visiting someone in hospice to just be themselves. Sometimes, there may be a conversation and other times, there may be just the two of you sitting in silence—but both are okay. Keep your focus on the patient and watch for their cues to guide the conversation or perhaps offer a comforting touch. If there’s anything they seem like they might need, such as a glass of water or a glance out the window, you can feel free to help them with these small but meaningful tasks. Because more than one guest might be overwhelming for the hospice patient, we recommend that no more than two people visit simultaneously. To learn more about hospice care or to inquire about further tips for visiting someone in hospice, reach out today.

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