Telling a Loved One About Your Terminal Illness

One of the most difficult things one could ever have to do is share their terminal diagnosis with a loved one. Learning that a loved one is dying is difficult for those of all ages.

Here are a few simple “do’s” and “don’ts” in communicating this unfortunate reality. Following these few suggestions could help make the news a little easier to bear for your loved ones.


1. Be clear about your diagnosis.

Tell your loved one the name of your illness and give them an overview of what to expect including symptoms like weight loss, hair loss and tiredness. Answer all of their questions about your terminal illness. They will likely have more questions in the days and weeks following your initial conversation. Practice active listening to quickly address fears and correct misinformation.

2. Maintain a regular routine.

Try to maintain as regular a routine as possible. Although this may be difficult because of doctor’s appointments and treatments, but try to establish at least one constant event. Weekly meals or events with your loved one

3. Involve your loved one in your care.

Allow them to help you by doing little things, such as fetching a glass of water or an extra blanket. If you go into the hospital, don’t restrict them from visiting.


1. Don’t let your loved one hear the news from someone else.

Even though it will be a difficult conversation, it’s important that you be the one to share the information and answer your loved one’s questions about your terminal illness.

2. Never let your loved one shoulder their worries alone.

Sharing your terminal diagnosis with trusted family and members of the community who spend time with you can help make the news easier on everyone. This includes grandparents, teachers, babysitters and family friends. Both you and your loved one will need the support of others throughout your illness.

The most important thing you can do for your loved one is give them all the extra love and attention you can manage. Create special moments and lasting memories with them.

At Crown Hospice, we are here to offer help and resources to help make end-of-life planning easier. Call us at (918)-745-0222.

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