Quality of Life for the Terminally Ill
Western Governor’s University
Chronic, terminally ill patients are often cared for in their own homes and the personal perceptions of the health care team can affect the care provided. My perceptions may vary from my patients however I would try to ensure I do not impose my beliefs unto them. Mrs. Thomas a 56 year old woman with recurrent metastasized cancer has a poor prognosis for recovery and is recommended for palliative care. Improvement in the quality of life for Mrs. Thomas can be achieved by determining her perception of quality of life, achieving pain management and assisting with coping mechanisms. It is necessary to develop a holistic nursing action plan, one that will meet her functional ability and provide care when she is no longer able to self care. Mr. Thomas suffers from depression with noticeable change due to the stressors of his wife’s illness and forgetting to take his medications. As a community health nurse intervention is necessary to facilitate his participation in Mrs. Thomas care.
Perceptions about quality of life and health promotion can affect the care one provides to a dying patient with a lingering illness. The patient has the things they are willing to do to manage their illness and their belief of what is an acceptable lifestyle while as their care provider I have my beliefs of what I feel is an appropriate lifestyle and the things I think they should be doing. I would have to consciously think about the things I would need to do and the so as not to impose what I would want to do instead of what they want me to do or what they need done. Quality of life is the ability to enjoy your normal activities and to me that means being able to keep doing everything I can for as long as possible. I would want to maintain my lifestyle as much as possible. My first priority would be to ensure adequate pain control so that I could participate in the remainder of my life. I believe pain control allows me to have some control over how my illness makes me feel, gives me mental clarity to manage the decisions that affect my illness, to participate in my activities of daily living (bathing, dressing and personal grooming), to participate in running my home (cleaning, meal preparation, grocery shopping and paying bills), in visiting with friends and family and in going on outings Some people do not want to be active participants in their own life once given a terminal diagnosis rather they want to withdraw from life. They may feel taking pain medications makes them lose control as they might have clouded judgment or excessive fatigue. I want to be able to spend the amount of time I have left with my family and friends while to them it might mean ending all relationships before the illness is apparent. I do not want to be confined to home or bed until I absolutely have to be, they might want to stay at home from the beginning so no one knows they are ill or to limit their exposure to questions when their illness becomes obvious. I want my home to be clean and comfortable. I would want my home maintained to the same standards I had prior to becoming ill. I want my bed made every morning, the carpet vacuumed daily, the kitchen cleaned daily, the floors and bathrooms cleaned weekly and the laundry done weekly. I also want my personal hygiene up kept to the same levels. I want a bath or shower daily, my hair brushed and styled daily (washed every other day), my teeth brushed three times daily (after each meal), my face washed morning and night and moisturizer applied and clean clothes daily with fresh pajamas nightly. Some patients with terminal illness lose interest or feel there is no reason to continue the upkeep of their surroundings or themselves, they might develop an attitude of “it’s hopeless”. Promoting your own health is participating in the...
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