Invariably, everyone has the most certain knowledge that life will ultimately expire. But even so, it is difficult to discover that you or a loved one has a serious illness that is already in an advanced state, and this knowledge surely doesn’t make it easy to deal with the diagnosis of a terminal illness. Those who are seriously ill and in an advanced state feel pain in all forms: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Therefore, it is essential to know how to deal with terminal illnesses and make the end of life less painful.
There are five stages of accepting or living in grief and loss:
- denial – a person does not want to accept what happened;
- anger – a person shows aggression towards everything and everyone;
- bargaining – an attempt to agree, including higher powers, that “I will give this to you, and you grant me recovery”;
- depression – hands give up and a dull despair sets in;
- acceptance – agreement with the reality of what has come.
The reactions are very individual, each stage may not appear in sequential order, or at all, and they may last for different lengths of time.
A productive stage is when a person says that recognizes their sad state of affairs, yet cultivates a psychological framework to make peace with reality. This is an extremely important state to achieve, no matter how long it takes. It is this state of acceptance that will help to correctly build the steps to mitigate the symptoms of disease and help restore inner balance and calmness with a congruent recognition of reality.
So what are the things you can do?
Save grief for the right time
Sadness, fear, anger, anger and guilt are common emotions in terminal patients. Therefore, in addition to medical and psychological care, it is essential for loved ones to avoid initiating the grieving process before death. This happens often because hopelessness breeds negative emotions and grief in loved ones, and mourning begins even when the patient is alive.
This attitude, however, can be very harmful to someone who is terminally ill. If the patient is a loved one, avoid whining and crying around the patient; instead, make yourself available in case they want to cry on your shoulder. What these people need most right now is support, care, and love.
Enjoy life in a dignified and happy way
Before you say goodbye or feel lifeless before your time, strive to live a positive life. Make wishes come true. Find people you miss in your life and say everything you left out — words like “I love you” or “forgive me.” If the patient is a loved one, ask them for things they would like to do and help them make arrangements to get it done.
As difficult as it is, use the situation to make up for lost time. Most people do not know how long they will live and, therefore, leave many things for later and miss countless opportunities. If you know you have a set time, do everything you can and don’t regret it.
Taking care of the patient
Caring for a person who is terminally ill is extremely difficult. But, they need the same physical, emotional and spiritual care as any other patient.
One of the main challenges is the mitigation of physical pain that ends up debilitating the patient until the patient is no longer able to perform their daily tasks, which then compounds into psychological distress. Thus, reasonably trying to maintain the same quality of life for the patient as from before the diagnosis until the end can be very beneficial to the patient.
More importantly, you should also follow up with a trusted doctor, maintain a proper diet and, if allowed, supplement with physical exercise.
Ultimately, it is advisable to seek hospice care with top-quality agencies such as Hillside Hopsice, where seasoned hospice nurses, medical social workers, and other professionals are specifically trained to deliver the end of life care needs required by patients with terminal illnesses.
It is very difficult to deal with the diagnosis of a terminal illness for both the patient and their loved ones. What is the best way to do this? There probably is no universal recipe – everyone has their own history, established relationships, and mechanisms of coping. The main thing is to do, however, is to not be alone with heavy thoughts, not try to deal with everything yourself, and not be afraid of bothering someone for help.