There’s no rule book or course outline that teaches you how to deal with death. Death and bereavement are a complicated process, one which could potentially take years to overcome. You might think it would be easier to deal with if you saw it coming, but that’s far from the truth.
Just because you see a loved one with a terminal illness doesn’t prep you for dealing with the loss you’re about to face. Terminal illnesses take their toll on everyone, but not more than the person suffering. The uncertainty of what lies ahead can be terrifying for the patient.
Not knowing what the outcome might be when they’re going to die and how they will be taken care of are just some of the things that are on their mind. Though you may be prepping yourself to deal with your loved one’s passing, you also need to care for them while they’re still alive.
Here are five ways to care for terminal patients
Ensure the presence of a Nurse
When providing care to a terminally ill patient, it would be best to have a helping hand in the form of a medical professional. Whether they’re living the rest of their days in the comfort of their home, or intensive care, make sure you have a nurse to watch them. The specialized knowledge of handling the patient is a must if you want them to live out their days comfortably.
Nurses play an integral part in the medical sector. With specialized skills, they provide care to millions of people terminally ill patients every year. Not only do they engage in hands-on care, but a fair number of them study alongside. With the help of online education, many of them are furthering their education by earning a masters of nursing online while still completing their work schedules.
Therefore, you can be sure that nurses have up-to-date and advanced knowledge on how to take care of terminally ill patients.
With terminal illness, there’s a fair deal of uncertainty about what these people are going through. They don’t know what to expect ahead; all they know is that they’ll be gone soon. The uncertainty, confusion, and emotions attached to knowing that you’re about to die can take a toll on anyone.
You may want to prepare yourself for experiencing aggression and irritability from the patient.
The best idea is to be patient and remember why they’re behaving this way. Getting angry and arguing in return isn’t going to help you or them.
Stay focused, and avoid any unpleasantries before they pass. Ending on bad terms with someone who has passed away can leave you regretting your actions your whole life.
Patients have a rough idea of what might happen next but no accurate details concerning their illness. One of the best ways to care for them is to create an expectancy plan for what will happen next.
Talk to them about how their illness will affect them further, bring them to terms with the fact that it’s only going to get more complicated from here.
You may feel like the bearer of bad news, but they need to know. The other alternative is they remain unaware of the condition, and the symptoms ahead take them by surprise.
Reminisce about the good times
Towards the end of their life, terminally ill patients want to talk about the past. The past provides comfort, which they desperately need. Talking about the life they lived and the good times they spent is a way to give themselves closure to live a fulfilled life. A major fear for those near death feels that they lived a life unsatisfied.
Talk to them about the past and ensure them that they lived a good life. You might get tired of hearing the same stories over and over, but remain patient and let them speak about whatever they want. Don’t be surprised if they start bringing up memories from as far back as their childhood. They’re only trying to comfort themselves.
You know that they might go any day, it is better you don’t wait till the last minute to say your goodbyes. There is a strong chance that they’re expecting it and are waiting for you to start the conversation.
Clear the room, get some privacy and let your emotions do the talking. Both you and they need to get closure at the end. Perhaps the best way to care for them is to tell them how much they meant to you. It’s precisely what they need to hear right now. It’ll give you a sense of comfort that you’ve made your peace and are ready to let go.
Saying goodbye to a loved one is an emotional event that never leaves you. However, you may take solace in the fact that you provided the best care possible when they were still alive. It may sound selfish, but sometimes you might need closure knowing that you did the best possible given the circumstances.
Good luck with dealing with your loved ones. We sincerely hope that these points helped you and guided you to handle the difficult road ahead.
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