It is always important to think about how you want information to be shared with your loved one, yourself, and other family (as you define “family”) and friends.  For example, do you want the doctor to talk about your loved one’s condition with both of you in the same room, or would you want the conversation to be held in another place?  Who do you want to be with you for those conversations, if anyone?  How are decisions made for and with your loved one and how are they shared with your medical team?   Prayer times may be important events for privacy and no medical interruption unless there is an emergency.  Talk openly and clearly with your medical team about what is important to you and your loved one so they have the best information to care for your loved one according to your wishes.


The room in which your loved one is being cared for is also an important thing to consider.  How do you want it to be?  Is it important that it to be as peaceful and calm as possible within the medical care your loved one is being provided?  Is quiet important, or would your loved on prefer music and their loved ones around them? Letting the health care team know your preferences and needs will lead to talking about what is possible within the medical care that your loved one needs while respecting your wishes for the room.

Rituals and Symbols

It can often be important for persons and family caregivers to have rituals from their religious or cultural tradition to be provided for their loved ones.  This is another thing to talk with your medical care team about.  You may want to have your pastor or others responsible for care to those who are in need come to visit and pray with you or offer Sacraments or other rituals.  The health care team can assist in coordinating the best times to for these activities. Many persons also want certain symbols of healing or that represent their spiritual beliefs to be present with their loved one.  If you, for example, would like a Bible, a cross, or other pictures to be in the room or near your loved one at all times, be sure to tell your health team.


The health care setting where your loved one is will usually have a chaplain on their staff that can help you in ensuring that your cultural and religious beliefs are honored and accommodated.  Professional chaplains are trained to care for all persons, and do not impose their beliefs on patients or families.   They can also help you in notifying your church.