Misperceptions about how you'll be viewed can impede the care you want. Patients may be reluctant to inquire about palliative or hospice care for fear their doctors will provide less thorough care, says Curtis. Or families may be worried doctors will think they've given up on their loved one. Simply asking means neither. Curtis suggests starting a conversation with nurses and doctors with: "I'd like to talk about what we'd do if these treatments don't work," or "I want to make sure if we're going to do all this, there's a reasonable chance we're going to get" some improvement. Opening this dialogue can help patients become more empowered in their care decisions and ensure that their personal values are respected. Families, too, can benefit greatly from understanding exactly how their loved one—the patient—thinks and feels. Should he or she become unable to participate in care decisions or pass away, family members may gain peace of mind in knowing they made decisions that honored their loved one. Broaching these difficult topics with a sick loved one, says Curtis, "can be incredibly freeing for family members."