When a loved one is dying, conversations about the end of life can be uncomfortable and difficult. Still, discussing end-of-life care is important. Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to help your loved one make important end-of-life decisions — such as whether to remain at home, move to a nursing home or other facility, or seek hospice care. Also, you can work with your loved one's health care team to make sure your loved one remains comfortable at the end of life. Pain, anxiety and other end-of-life symptoms can often be treated. Even at the end of life, you can continue to support and nurture your relationship with your loved one. Simply being there can be an important source of strength and comfort for everyone. Grief
When a loved one dies, grief can feel like a dagger in your heart. Often, grief triggers raw, intense emotions. You might wonder how you'll ever pick up the pieces and heal your wounds — yet not feel as if you're betraying your loved one's memory. There are no quick fixes for the grief and anguish that follow a loved one's death. As you face your grief, acknowledge the pain and know that it's part of the healing process. Take good care of yourself, and seek support from friends and loved ones. Although your life will never be quite the same, the searing pain of grief will eventually become less intense. Accepting your new "normal" can help you reconcile your losses and move on with your life.
Also called: End-of-life care
Hospice care is end-of-life care provided by health professionals and volunteers. They give medical, psychological and spiritual support. The goal of the care is to help people who are dying have peace, comfort and dignity. The caregivers try to control pain and other symptoms so a person can remain as alert and comfortable as possible. Hospice programs also provide services to support a patient's family. Usually, a hospice patient is expected to live 6 months or less. Hospice care can take place * At home
* At a hospice center
* In a hospital
* In a skilled nursing facility
What is the role of the family?
Family members often make sacrifices to care for relatives. Families provide care, pain management, and protect the patient. Although they may lack knowledge, caregivers gain satisfaction and pride from providing care, but are also at risk for depression and health problems related to caregiver stress (Haley & Bailey, 1999: Haley et al., 2001; Weitzner, Haley, & Chen, 2000). Some cultures may believe caring is the community’s duty and obligation. Caregivers benefit from social support, maintaining social activities and roles, and psychological interventions that teach coping skills. Most people want their family to be given choices about treatment and few wanted the physician to decide alone (Bradley, 1998).
End of life: Caring for a dying loved one
Whether you bring a dying loved one home or keep vigil at the hospital, you can take measures to provide comfort and relief at the end of life. Caring for a dying loved one isn't easy. Even when you know the end of life is approaching, you might not feel prepared. Understanding what to expect — and what you can do to increase your loved one's comfort — can help. * Choosing where to die
Your loved one may have various choices for end-of-life care. Options may include: * Home care. Many people choose to die at home or in the home of a family member. You can assume the role of caregiver or hire home care services for support. Hospice care — services that help ensure the highest quality of life for whatever time remains — can be provided at home as well. * Inpatient care. Some people may prefer round-the-clock care at a nursing home, hospital or dedicated inpatient hospice facility. Hospice and palliative care — a holistic treatment approach intended to ease symptoms, relieve pain, and address spiritual and psychological...
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