In the latter stages of a terminal illness, the priorities for care tend to make a shift. Instead of placing a focus on curative measures for the patient, the shift focuses to palliative care. This type of care addresses pain relief, symptom relief and relief from emotional stress. End of life care nursing services can help to ensure that your loved one’s final months, weeks and days provide them with as much comfort as possible.
By anticipating the demands that are associated with this type of care, the journey from care to grief to healing and acceptance can begin.
What Is Late Stage Care?
During the final stages of a terminal illness, it may become apparent that despite the best care, treatment and attention available, your loved one is approaching the end stages of his or her life. Although the patient’s end of life care nursing services continue, the focus now shifts to making sure that he or she remains comfortable. Depending on the type of illness and your loved one’s individual circumstances, this stage can last for several months or even years.
Palliative care measures are then put into place to help the patient deal with discomfort and pain through medications and other types of treatments. Nausea, constipation and shortness of breath may be some of the discomforts that your loved one may be suffering with.
Even with several years of experience, providing care for patients during this time can prove to be challenging for both caregivers. Simple daily care tasks are quite often combined with end of life decisions that are complex. Caregivers can receive the assistance and support they need through hospice care providers, nursing personnel and hospice care physicians.
How To Determine If Your Loved One Needs End Of Life Care
There is not a specific point during an illness that this type of care begins. It really depends on the patient. For example, the family of Alzheimer’s patients has already been informed about the different stages of the disease. These stages can provide families with guidelines that they need to understand how the disease will progress so the appropriate care can in place for their loved ones.
For other types of terminal illnesses, there are several signs that you may want to consider when deciding if your loved one needs palliative instead of curative care. These signs are:
– The patient’s quality of life continues to decline in spite of multiple trips to the emergency room
– They have been admitted to the hospital several times in one year for the same symptoms
– They prefer to stay at home instead of being admitted into a hospital
– They have made the decision to stop receiving treatment for their illness
What Are The Needs Of The Patient And The Caregiver During End Of Life Care?
Your loved one may no longer be able walk, talk, sit, stand, eat or understand the world anymore. This means that they may need assistance with routine activities, and may become fully dependent on the physical strength of their caregiver. Assistance with these tasks can be provided by nurses, professional caregivers and other medical professionals.
From the moment your loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, their life is never the same. It is important to find end of life care nursing services that will provide the care they need while also allowing them to maintain their dignity.