It is a fact that life will end at some point. Yet, even with this uncontroversial knowledge, most people are not prepared to face the final stage of their time or their loved ones. Especially when someone we know is passing through a severe disease, we wonder what we can say or how to provide support.
Here are some ideas to offer comfort and empathy to someone in pain or suffering.
It may be all they need in this challenging and emotional time. Become a distraction from the tribulations of illness, tell them a story, watch a movie together, or accompany them in their hobbies. Hug them if they crave it. Do not give unsolicited advice or opinions about the disease or the treatment. You can provide them with a shoulder if they wish to cry.
Do not hesitate to ask how they feel, but be compassionate when talking to the patients or their families.
Take your time to listen to them and show them full sympathy. It can make a difference.
Give them adequate privacy
Grieving and dealing with the idea of near-death is a different process for every person. We have to give them the space to deal with their situation. It is not an easy task and can be challenging to decipher, but the patient’s and their family’s wishes must be honored. Therefore, we should try not to be pushy and not overbear, even if our intentions are kind.
Do not be afraid to visit, but call first.
Provide physical comfort
Not every hospice patient experiences chronic pain, but most of those who do, don’t care much about the possible long-term effects of medication or painkillers. The patients could feel vulnerable or irritable because of pain, leading to problems with meaningful communication with their loved ones. As a healthcare provider, you must understand the discomforts of constantly feeling pain.
As long as the doctor prescribes it, we should not be afraid of giving as much pain medication as needed. Hospice care professionals are appropriately qualified in pain management.
Encourage physical contact
We are often not aware of the power of physical contact. Hospice patients tend to feel dehumanized by their condition. However, the human touch enlightens them with a contagious positive attitude. Just squeeze their hand with precaution, give a gentle massage on the shoulders, or hold their hand as long as needed.
Advocate for them
Patients have every right in the world to make their own choices regarding their care, the kind of comfort they wish for, or the things they would like to accomplish before the time comes. Whether patients still have enough capacity and a good state of mind, their wishes should be honored and respected. You can always help the family and care providers to remember those wishes and goals for their end-of-life journey.
At Ascend Hospice Care, we can ease the burdens by providing professional and empathic help through the hospice care process. We are here for you with responsibility and dignity.