You are now confronting a life-threatening illness. This is a difficult and perhaps frightening time, but you should know that you are not alone. To support you, there are compassionate, experienced people who can ease your pain and help in any way that is important for you.
What Is My Prognosis?
You are a full partner in the team that is caring for you at this stage in your life. You deserve, therefore, to be told as much about your condition and its likely progression as you want to know at any one time. Be honest and open about what, and how much detail, you want to know. Your loved ones can help too. By attending physician and care meetings and taking notes.
How Will I Feel?
People experience this transition in an entirely personal and individual way. You may feel shock, numbness, disbelief, panic, helplessness or hopelessness. You may feel angry or frightened, anxious or guilty, or terribly sad. You may feel all of these things, your mind zigzagging between emotions like lightning bolts, or you may even feel at peace.
All of these emotions are normal. There are no ways that you “should” behave or emotions that you “should” feel, but there are people on the hospice palliative care team who can help you understand and cope with the power of your own feelings.
I Don’t Want To Be Alone At This Time In My Life.
The hospice palliative care team works to ensure that you and your loved ones are supported in whatever ways you need. Hospice palliative care is offered to you by your doctor and team of professional health care providers, volunteers, loved ones and yourself.
Experienced members of the hospice palliative care team can answer your questions about death itself and can respond gently but openly to anything you want to know.
How Will My Care Be Managed?
You deserve to be a full partner in the management of your own care, and you deserve to have your needs and desires respected by all of your caregivers, from your family physician, your nurses and therapists, to your family and friends.
Begin a dialogue with your caregivers so that they are always aware of your concerns and wishes, and it will be easier for you to be honest and open as these change.
Hospice palliative care considers that dying is an important part of living, and that it is essential to manage pain and other symptoms effectively so that those facing death, and their loved ones, can devote their energies not to fighting physical discomfort, but to embracing the time they have left together.
The hospice will assist you:
- to be a full partner in your own care,
- to minimize your pain,
- to have your decisions and choices respected and followed,
- to be treated with openness and honesty, without deception or half-truths,
- to receive quality medical and nursing care,
- to be cared for by compassionate, sensitive and knowledgeable people who will attempt to understand your needs and try to meet them, and
- to live and die in peace and with dignity.
What About Pain And Other Symptoms?
Hospice palliative care understands pain in two ways: it can be both physical pain and “soul” pain, anguish that is in a person’s head and heart.
Physical pain and symptoms can be eased with the careful use of medication, a process in which health care teams, patients and their families work together to find the best pain and symptom relief.
Hospice palliative care teams include compassionate, sensitive, knowledgeable people who can help patients and their loved ones work through soul pain.