All Press Releases for February 16, 2022

5 Compassionate Questions to Ask a Seriously Ill Family Member

Doug Wenners — CEO of Prospero Health, which specializes in providing compassionate home-based health care for people living with serious illnesses — shares questions of empowerment

Doug Wenners, CEO of Prospero Health, shares important personal and compassionate questions to ask seriously ill family members to ensure they have the best possible quality of life before they pass.

    BOSTON, MA, February 16, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Most people who are ill understand the need for advanced health care directives and have common conversations with their family members and attorneys about their will, living trust, and power of attorney. But more personal advanced care planning conversations also need to happen when someone is seriously ill and in decline — when death is not an immediate concern, but looms in the not-too-distant future.

What are some important personal and compassionate questions we can ask our seriously ill family members to ensure they have the best possible quality of life before they pass? Doug Wenners is CEO of Prospero Health, which specializes in providing compassionate home-based health care for people living with serious illnesses. For National Caregivers Day Feb. 18, Doug shares five questions Prospero Health clinicians ask their patients in declining health to help them feel like they have been heard, have control over their lives, and have the best possible care and quality of life before they die.

"These are questions of empowerment. In health care, almost everything is imposed upon people, and the sicker you become, the more disempowered you can become. Most people die on everyone else's terms," says Wenners, "but it's the deeper conversation about the quality of the end of life that needs to be had so the person can die on their own terms."

Prospero Health clinicians work with family members to ask their patients these five critical questions:

1. What is your understanding of where you are in your illness?

"It's a collaboration question." says Wenners. "It helps both the person asking, and the person answering to get on the same page about what the reality of the situation is. People often assume that the person who is ill understands everything, or sometimes they assume they understand nothing." Wenners says the key is to never assume. "Often, due to emotional reasons or cognitive impairment, your loved one may not have fully grasped or come to terms with their situation or what it means for their future."

2. What are your fears or worries for the future?

"When you suffer with an illness, you start thinking about your own mortality and what lies ahead," says Wenners. "What are my kids going to do without me? Is my wife going to have enough money to live? What if I miss my daughter's wedding? People are often encumbered with these thoughts and questions, but if they're not talked about, then nothing can be done to help address them. After being poked, prodded, and held to stringent medical protocol, many of our seniors have never gotten the opportunity to simply talk out their worries and fears about dying before. This can be a very cathartic invitation and experience."

3. What are your goals and priorities?

"This is the ultimate goal of what caring for people with an illness is all about," says Wenners. "To be able to give them the opportunity to articulate what's important, so that the people around them who are in a position to help can help manage those goals and priorities. The industry jargon talks about being 'patient-centered,' but in reality, the desires of the person who is ill are often ignored. Understanding what's important to your loved one is critical to helping them feel empowered."

4. What outcomes are unacceptable to you?

"This is the hardcore question," says Wenners. "It's getting down to what could happen in the future and what your loved one wants. Often, it's the doctors and specialists debating amongst themselves, according to their values, what is right for the patient. Your loved ones deserve a choice, so it's critical to give the patient the opportunity to say either 'I'd be okay with that,' or not."

5. What would a good day look like?

"The opportunity to say out loud what a good day looks like, with the hope that it can actually be achieved, is fundamental to the human spirit," says Wenners. "This question is about what truly — in the person's spirit, in their heart — makes them happy. And then, if you know that, as a loved one, or as a care provider, you can work in service to that goal."

Prospero Health brings together an expert team, inventive technology, and 24/7 support (with both face-to-face and virtual care) that all focus specifically on the needs of patients living with serious illness, as well as the needs of their families. It is part of the larger Home-Based Medical Care trend that, due to an aging population, is quickly catching up with traditional home health care in popularity and demand.

While home health care is most often employed when a patient is discharged from the hospital and has short-term, acute needs such as physical or occupational therapy, home-based medical care is used when a patient has a chronic illness with more generalized needs. These patients are usually visited 2-4 times a month over a period of years and may receive a wide variety of holistic services, including:

* Medical assessments (vitals, physical exams)
* Addressing social issues (e.g. arranging transportation, assistance with financial matters, caregiver support)
* Direct medical care such as IV antibiotics
* Unscheduled acute visits

About: Douglas J. Wenners is the Co-Founder & CEO of Prospero Health, providing home-based care for people living with serious illness. Doug is a strong advocate for changing the way society views health care from being system-focused to patient- and family-focused. Learn more at

For more information, visit the online press kit
To request an interview with Doug Wenners, contact International Publicist Michelle Tennant Nicholson: [email protected] or 828-749-3200.

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Doug Wenners, CEO and Co-Founder of Prospero Health, shares the personal experiences that moved him to found Prospero.