Monday, 17 September 2012

How To Give Terminal Care To A Dying Parent

By Kum Martin

Usually, as children we reconcile to the fact that sooner or later we will have to care for our parents because of deteriorating health and age. However, when your parent is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it can be devastating for you. Giving terminal care to a dying parent is not easy. Usually, this type of care is given when the life expectancy is less than 6 months.
Talk to your parent about terminal care and other treatment options. Find out what your parent wants. At times, your parent may not be ready to give up treatment options to prolong life. Hence, their wishes should be fulfilled. However, warn your parent about the possible side effects after discussing the same with the doctor. If your parent does not want to suffer from the side effects, then terminal care would be the only option available. This concentrates on making the person feel more comfortable during the last stages of the disease.
Speak to your parent about making end of life care decisions. If your parent is lucid and able to make decisions, then find out whether they want to spend the last days of their life at home or in a hospital. This is important from your parent's point of view, as it will reduce emotional stress and also let them choose where they die. Generally, people with terminal disease want to spend their last days surrounded by their loved ones and in familiar surroundings.
Make sure that your parent gets palliative care during the last stages of their disease. This will keep your parent comfortable and reduce symptoms associated with the disease. The doctors may medicate your loved one for pain and other uncomfortable symptoms that they may experience, such as nausea, shortness of breath or constipation. It will also provide you with some relief, as palliative care tries to ease the burden of the primary caregiver. It gives emotional, spiritual and physical support to both the patient and family members. Speak to your parent about hospice care, as it will allow your parent to die with dignity and grace.
When your parent is lucid, find out about what plans they have in place for their funeral. It sounds morbid to be discussing such a topic even before the person passes away, but it will allow you to fulfill your parent's last wishes. This may not be necessary if your parent has made a living will.
An important part of terminal care is providing emotional support to the dying person. This is extremely challenging, as everyone involved will be emotionally fraught. Hence, you would have to get your emotions under control and be there for your parent. Speak to your loved one and find out what they want. At times, they would just want you to listen. Address any spiritual need by calling on a religious leader. If they want to reminisce about the good old days, make sure you listen actively and also speak about those days. Try to spend as much time as possible with your parent, while ensuring that they are comfortable and pain-free.
Kum Martin is an online leading expert in elderly care. He also offers top quality articles like:
Terminal Illness
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