The principles of palliative care include a multi-disciplinary approach to the treatment of an imminent death or an advanced disease that focuses on symptomatic management and support instead of on medical treatment or longer life. This kind of care for the dying is becoming more accepted by physicians, patients and their families. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this form of health care for the dying incorporates care for the non-specific pain and discomfort of dying and emotional support. This kind of palliative care has been practiced globally for more than 40 years.
This care has its roots in a philosophy that says dying is inevitable and that the relief of suffering is an important benefit of life. Other philosophies stress that pain and discomfort can be managed if and when the patient is able to control them. The approach of pain management in this kind of care for the dying does not aim at extending life but relieving pain and other discomforts so the patient can die in peace and dignity. It involves the use of pain management techniques such as analgesia, biofeedback, physical support such as ct, occupational and speech therapy, relaxation or distraction techniques, and disease education.
Palliative care for the dying incorporates spiritual support as one of its most important components. Some believers feel that pain management techniques are inappropriate for those who are close to dying, thus they provide spiritual support through religious services. Others prefer working with a hospice care team that offers spiritual support along with pain management, because they believe that patients have the ability to control their own pain and therefore their own death. This group believes that death should be embraced as a gift from God.
Patients who are nearing the end of their lives often experience symptoms like insomnia, depression, and anxiety. These symptoms are a result of the buildup of toxins in their bodies that have built up over time. Spiritual support from the palliative care team can help families and friends cope with these symptoms and allow them to focus on the love of God and the hope of heaven. According to hospice experts, it is important for families to prepare for death ahead of time, by researching hospice procedures, talking to doctors about their options, and learning more about their loved ones' spiritual and emotional needs.
In some cases, hospice care support groups might even recommend that families find support groups in their community so they can discuss their loved one's needs with others who are experiencing this type of stress. It might also be helpful to take a trip to a spiritual health center in order to speak with spiritual healers who are trained to administer these. Speaking with these healers might also provide valuable insight into coping mechanisms that your loved one might be using to deal with his or her pain. These conversations might even lead you to new areas of healing that you had not previously explored.
Other family members may need to be introduced to this type of palliative care. Your local social services agency may be able to offer support groups where families can meet to discuss their loved one's care and concerns. If your loved one has recently lost someone to drug abuse, an outreach worker at your local social service office could be able to introduce you to some of the outreach workers who are trained in drug intervention. While you are discussing your loved one's care with the social worker, keep an eye out for any other families that are also struggling with substance abuse issues. Many times, these families can be a great source of support when dealing with the emotional ramifications of losing a loved one to addiction.
For families that do not live near a hospice care unit or a faith-based hospital, it may be necessary to look for a provider that offers palliative care support on a more temporary basis. This care is usually offered by hospitals or health care centers that have care units specifically devoted to offering palliative care to those who are suffering from terminal illness. In some instances, hospice care support is covered by insurance, but in other cases, only the family is paid for this particular type of care. While there are no governmental requirements as to what providers offer, almost all providers offer some form of in-home hospice care support.
Palliative care takes on a variety of forms, including both life support and management. Family members should be made aware of any special circumstances involving your loved one that may require care beyond the norm. This care support is often offered in addition to standard family care. Once your loved one has passed away, make sure that all members within the family are involved in planning his or her funeral arrangements so that they do not feel isolated or left out of the process of caring for a loved one who has passed away.
Steve Schafer is the founder of TheEulogyWriters and is probably the most prolific eulogy writer (and, no doubt, the best) anywhere. He lives in Michigan and has been writing eulogies for well over thirty years. The articles in this blog are designed to help people through the process of losing loved ones.