When Hospice is Needed, How Can Family & Friends Help?

Posted on

Jan 28, 2017

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None of us like to think about dying, and often our first conversations about end of life occur when someone close to us is terminally ill.
When hospice is brought in to serve a patient, it isnt about giving up hope, its about maximizing the quality of life left when a cure is no longer possible and aggressive treatment is no longer desired.
You can be a big support to your friend or family in their end-of-life journey by following these tips:
Be there. Call or visit as often as possible. Write notes about memories and the love you share.
Be a good listener. Allow your loved one to talk about their illness and impending death at their own pace.
Educate yourself about the illness. Being prepared and knowing what to expect will ease your mind as the different stages occur.
Be compassionate. Tell them they are loved and that you are there for them.
Offer practical help. Tidy the house, bring meals, offer to provide transportation. Show you care with companionship if possible.
Recognize your own limitations. If you cant do something but you know it needs to be done, maybe there is another way or someone else who can help. Asking for help can be healthy for everyone.
Remember you will also experience worry, fear, and even anger. You want to make everything comfortable for the patient, but youre going through a tough time too, and it can be overwhelming. Take care of yourself.
As a friend or family member, you can be a blessing to someone close to you. Your hospice team, made of social workers, chaplain, nurses, nurse aides, and volunteers are there to support not just the patient, but the whole family. Sharing your feelings, concerns, and getting assistance from your hospice provider can help bring people together and help support your family.
Editors Note: This article was submitted by Katherine Krause, President & CEO of VNA Texas, a non-profit hospice provider in 13 North Texas Counties.
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Keep a journal. Putting your thoughts and feelings on paper is a good way to get them out. You can also refer back and see just how far you have come. 29. Heal at your own pace. Never compare yourself to another grieving person. Each of us has our own time clock. 30. You will grow. As you work through your sadness, you will grow. You may begin to understand that change and separation are a natural part of living. You are a better person for having loved. 31. Begin to look to the future. Begin to experiment with new lifestyles - new ways of filling the day. They might even turn out to be fun. 32. Give yourself praise. You are a richer, deeper, wiser person for having survived your grief. 33. Be open. Be open to new people, places, ideas, and experiences, but dont forget to build on the past. Dont throw out what has been worthwhile to you. Small changes are the best at first. 34. Begin to give of yourself. Giving can bring you the greatest joy. 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