In the context of helping patients get good care and live as fully as possible (i.e., to be a Healthy Survivor), physicians can explain:
- Additional treatment will likely cause harm with little expectation of improvement.
- Without the toxic effects of treatment, and with the hospice care experts tending to the patient's needs, patients can hope to optimize their quality of life. They can hope and expect it will be better than had they submitted to another treatment that offered little, if any, chance of improvement. And certainly better than it has been while undergoing treatment.
- Patients can hope to live longer than patients in the same medical circumstances who don't elect to enter hospice. (Comparing Hospice and Non-hospice Patient Survival...)
- They can expect and hope to experience whatever comes next in the most dignified way.
- They can expect and hope to optimize this time with their family and friends,.
If at any time patients feel they have entered hospice too soon, they can change their mind and be discharged. (Better too soon than too late, when patients can achieve the full benefits of hospice care.)
Nobody can predict the future. If patients get better or if a new treatment becomes available, patients can be discharged from hospice and resume active treatment. As explained in "The 'H' Word," sometimes hospice is the most hopeful option of all.