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Dealing with the Imminent Death of a Loved One - Caring for a Dying Person

Kathryn Patricelli, MA Updated: Mar 2nd 2016

Providing care for a dying person can be very difficult and emotional, and yet also a rewarding experience.  There are many challenges that you are likely to face as you work to make the dying person comfortable and assist with any unfinished tasks that the dying person wishes to accomplish.

caregiverOne of the most important things to remember is that you need to take care of yourself in addition to caring for the dying person.  This will be a stressful and trying time and if you aren't able to take care of yourself (getting enough rest, food, exercise, etc), you won't be able to provide quality care to your patient either.  You need to monitor your own emotions and seek outside or professional help if necessary, should you find yourself overcome by anxiety, fear, guilt, anger, depression, or other powerful feelings that may threaten to temporarily overwhelm you.  This also includes asking for help from other family members when this is needed and/or allowing others to help you when they offer.  If you try to do everything on your own, you will quickly burn-out and not be able to provide good care.

It is important to continue to communicate with the dying person about their condition as much as possible.  Allowing the person to have a say in how they are cared for whenever possible is an important gift you can provide them.  Doing so helps the dying person to maintain a sense of independence and dignity, particularly in the face of their ultimate loss of control over a medical disease or condition that will end their lives.  In addition to providing good physical care, it is also good to encourage the dying person to share his or her feelings, not only about physical symptoms, but also about emotional and spiritual concerns.  Let the dying person know you are available and there to support him or her.

You'll need to work closely with the other health care professionals and caregivers involved in the caregiving process (such as other family members, doctors, nurses, aides, and spiritual advisors) in order to help coordinate the flow of information to all concerned parties.  This communications task can include monitoring the dying person's level of physical comfort and emotional health, and letting others know when they need to become more involved.  Partnering with other caregivers helps you to become more educated about what to expect over the course of a disease and during the final days.  Asking lots of questions can help reduce some of the stress, anxiety and fear that you may be feeling about managing in the final days.

You can also help the dying person to finish any incomplete business he or she may have, including legal or financial matters, making reconciliations or amends, coordinating specific visitors, or even facilitating travel to special places.  Providing such aid can involve a great deal of coordination and handling of many details, but can go a long way in allowing the person to die a "good death."


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Did My Mother Dye Really In Pease In Gerneral And Spiritually - Traci Whitt - Apr 5th 2009

I lost my Mother to multiorgan failer and she suffered tremendously starting with the first hospitalisation diagnosing her with heart failer and the day they released her she was ill with what they call c-diff with  we didnt know at the time didnt know the term c-diff until three days later she in up in the hospital with severe diareha blood in stool diagnosing her with this toxen in her body as a result of an antibiotic they gave her with her previous hospital stay with heart failer because she had fluid retention so she stayed in hospital another week they released her then three days once again back she went for the same thing adding that she was having breathing spells so then test reveiled that she possibly had lung cancer and maybe metastatic lesions on lungs and glands and still c-diff so then she was on more antibiotics released and back within a week with c-diff and then i watched her go down down down she then starting having severe panic attacks couldnt walk severe swelling on feet and legs they then went and did a test to look at her heart saw a voulve wasnt properly functioning in her heart she then had a stoke finding out a day later she had had mini strokes blood pressure dropped she then went in icu blood transfusions because she started bleeding internially then got better i thought they took her out of icu gave her a few more pints of blood bleeding stopped???? she acted as if she was gonna pull through three days later i lost her a very heart wrenching guilt devastaded i loved her so much and to watch her suffer so bad and then have hope when you have doctors telling you one thing and another i want answers the truth for once

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