Why would oncologists (or any physicians) not say "good-bye" when they know this is the last office visit for a patient before being transferred to hospice care?
- Many patients believe "hospice" and "hope for recovery" are mutually exclusive.
- Many physicians believe "hospice" and "hope to help patients heal" are mutually exclusive.
Physicians may feel tongue-tied when they transfer their patients' care to hospice:
"[F]inal good-byes...dramatize the limits of physicians' abilities to cure. Some physicians equate saying "good-bye" with admitting defeat. Others...avoid "good-bye" so as not to risk extinguishing patients' hope." (excerpted from Only 10 Seconds to Care, p.157)
As a Healthy Survivor, try to keep in mind that this transition is difficult for many physicians. Although it is not your job to help your clinicians, if you feel like it you can say something like, "What a journey together. I won't miss the treatments, but I will miss coming to the office and seeing you and your staff. We did our best. My family and I will always be grateful for your care."