A Dying Well Plan Part III

By Elizabeth Sukys-Rice

“Every day across the country,” she writes, “family caregivers find themselves pondering a medical procedure that may save the life of someone beloved and grown frail.” But, when is it time to stop intervening and let nature take its course? When is it time to say to a doctor, “Let my loved one go?” – Katy Butler

Providing Comfort Care

When your loved ones are facing serious illness, you won’t let them tackle the obstacles alone. Their struggles are your struggles. Their pain is your pain. Their fears are your fears. You listen to them, care for them, and walk their disease journey with them. You’re their rock on the days when everything seems too difficult to handle. You’re there to help them in any way you can.

  • Ideally, the dying process should never entail sustained severe pain or other physical suffering. Oral care, skin and wound care, application of heat or cold packs) can be critical in addressing the full range of the patient’s and family members’ needs, as can attention from mental health providers, social workers, music therapists, volunteers, and others.
  • Offer chaplaincy services when appropriate.
  • Discontinue diagnostic or treatment efforts that are likely to diminishing the patient’s quality of life and his or her ability to interact with loved ones.
  • Monitoring of vital signs is rarely useful in the final days of life, especially when obtaining this information involves the use of noisy, distracting monitors
  • Mouth and skin care and changing the patient’s position in bed may enhance comfort in some situations, but in other situations these measures may bother the patient and contribute to suffering and should be discontinued.
  • Consider home care, rather than care in the hospital, for the patient if appropriate.
  • Most dying patients are more physically comfortable at home, and family members have generally been found to be most satisfied with the experience of relatives who die at home with hospice care.

Portions of this blog provided by a great resource https://getpalliativecare.org

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