When a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal disease, the news can be devastating. There are so many things to consider, like what kind of treatment plan you want and palliative and end of life care. When your loved one reaches the end stage of the disease, palliative care can ensure that your loved one is comfortable and pain free.
With palliative care you have peace of mind knowing your loved one is going to be taken care of in the best manner possible. One of the first components of palliative care is pain management. The pain can be intense in the end stages of disease and the last thing you want is for your loved one to suffer.
Your palliative care team will come up with a pain management plan that will keep your loved one perfectly comfortable. If your loved one can’t keep down pills, a morphine drip will be administered. Staying physically comfortable is also important with palliative care and a team of attendants will do everything that needs to be done to keep your loved one comfortable.
Near the end of life your loved one may start to refuse food and water. This is totally normal as it is just the body’s way of shutting down. You don’t want to try to make your loved one eat food or drink water during this time. While it would make you feel better, it can often be painful to your loved one since their body is shutting down. Not eating or drinking isn’t painful when you are dying and it can even lead to feelings of well being and euphoria in the patient. You want to let them lead the way.
When your loved one stops drinking, their mouth can get dry, so the palliative care team will be sure to keep their mouth continuously moist so they feel more comfortable. The team will also make sure that your loved one is moved around frequently so they don’t feel uncomfortable and don’t get bed sores. They will be by your loved one to ease the transition into the next world.
While it can be scary witnessing your loved one going through the dying process, it isn’t painful for them and it can actually be a welcome release finally being able to let go of this world and leave their illness behind. If you can open your heart, you will see that they dying process can actually be a beautiful one. You want to be present for each moment, but taking care of your loved one isn’t something that you can do all by yourself. You are going to need help and a palliative end of life care team will give you back up you need and help give you the strength to carry on with the dying process. While having a loved one with a terminal illness is frightening, your loved one isn’t likely to feel this fear.