Being there to help someone before they take the last train to glory is one of the hardest jobs in the world. It’s not easy to listen to their dying regrets and memories as they take their last breath. To watch as their soul slowly departs from their body, to land in deaths awaiting arms, as their pale sallow skin turns grey. To listen to their failing attempts at short breathes from their chapped lips, holding on to a life that’s already aboard the eternity bus. Hoping that they will be able to get a last glimpse of their loved ones, and give them the final gift of love, that one last breathless whispered goodbye. Right before their maker calls them home, you watch as hope disperses from their brown cloudy eyes and they finally make the painless transition from person to body.
When a patient opts to go with Palliative care, it does not mean that they are giving up. The goal of the care is to offer: –
· Pain and symptom control- any discomfort and side effects from the treatment is managed to allow them to be comfortable and enjoy their life.
· Homecare and inpatient care- Most people opt to have home care, but in the event that one needs to get in patient care, your home palliative care team can arrange for them to be taken to a hospital, extended-care facility, or an inpatient hospice center.
· Spiritual Care- People have different religious and spiritual beliefs, thus spiritual care is tailored to meet your specific needs. It might include helping them understand the meaning of life, look at what death means to them, helping them say good-bye, or helping with a certain religious ceremony or ritual.
· Family meetings- The family members are kept informed about the patient’s condition and what to expect by the home care team via regularly scheduled meetings. These meetings also give everyone a chance to share feelings, talk about what’s happening and what’s needed, and learn about death and the process of dying. Family members can get great support and stress relief through these meetings. Daily updates may also be given informally as the nurse or nursing assistant talks with them and their caregivers during routine visits.
· Coordination of care- The palliative care team coordinates and supervises all care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One is advised to contact their palliative care team anytime they need help, there’s always someone on call. The team is responsible for making sure that information is shared with everyone involved. This could include the inpatient facility, doctor, pharmacists, clergy, and funeral directors. Palliative care team assures patients and their family that they are not alone and can get help at any time.
· Respite care- For patients having homecare, some palliative care centers offer respite care to allow friends and family some time away from care giving. It can be given in up to 5- day periods of time, during which the patient is cared for either in the hospice facility or in beds that are set aside in nursing homes or hospitals. Families can rest at while you’re cared for in an inpatient setting.
· Bereavement care– Bereavement is the period of mourning after a loss. The palliative care team works with surviving loved ones to help them through the grieving process. A trained volunteer, clergy member, or professional counselor provides support to survivors through visits, phone calls, and/or other contact, as well as through support groups.
Sometimes we need someone to be there to let us feel that we are cared for and supported because the end of life deserves as much beauty, care and respect as the beginning.