A terminal diagnosis can be traumatic and devastating, both for the patient and their family. Even when a patient has been seriously ill for a prolonged period, knowing that the end is nearing is painful. You may feel lost, stressed, and frustrated. No matter how hard you try to normalize life, it is never the same.

According to WHO statistics, an estimated 56.8 million people are in need of palliative care. Among these, 25.7 million are in the last year of life. Millions in the US struggle with the same fate. While these numbers are scary, the only solace you can find in them is that you are not alone.

If you are a caregiver to a terminally ill loved one, you need to ensure they get the best care and comfort. That’s the best you can do to support them during the challenging end-of-life phase. Here are some ways to support them physically and emotionally.

Understand Their Needs:

A terminal diagnosis affects everyone differently. Patients may have their own preferences regarding how they want to spend the remaining time they have. Some want to cherish the moments with family and friends, and others want to stay alone. 

Unfortunately, data shows that some groups of people struggling with terminal illness are vulnerable to suicide. While terminally ill patients need care, they still have a sense of self and value their privacy. You need to 

As a caregiver, you must be sensitive to the needs of your loved one and ensure they do not think of ending their life. Ask them where they want to spend the rest of their life and if they want assistance with financial, legal, and healthcare paperwork. Meeting their needs ensures a higher quality of life for their remaining time.

Respect Their Dignity:

Respect their dignity while changing, bathing, or providing personal care. Be mindful of their appearance and hygiene. Ensure proper cleaning, changing diapers, and grooming because even a person nearing the end of life deserves to feel good.

Dignity is not only about the physical needs of your loved one. Respect their presence and include them in conversations. You can even consider dignity therapy for your loved one. This therapy is designed to promote hope and address psychological and existential distress in people dealing with terminal diagnoses.

Seek Professional Caregiver Assistance:

No matter how much you love your terminally ill family member, you cannot take care of their physical needs. Many patients require medical assistance for feeding, medication, skincare, and hygiene. Even if you commit to handling these areas, you may fall short of expertise. Caregiver burnout is impending for people looking after dying loved ones.

Accept the need for professional assistance and seek it without feeling guilty. A trained nurse can give your loved one far better care than you can. You can even choose a fresh ABSN student instead of a seasoned nurse if money is a constraint. Someone with experience is always more expensive than a fresher, even if both have the same skill set.

Baylor University notes that students completing an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing are as skilled as someone entering the industry through the conventional route. Someone new in the profession is likely to have higher motivation levels, translating into genuine care for patients. 

Create a Wish List:

Nearing the end of life is never easy for a person, whether they are twenty or ninety. A person always has a bucket list of things to do, regardless of age. Your loved one will probably have a list of things they want to do in the time they have left. Do they wish to celebrate a special occasion? Is there a place they want to visit? Do they want to see or speak to someone?

Create a wish list and try to complete as many things as possible. If they want to be somewhere but cannot travel, provide a virtual experience. Host an occasion early, like an upcoming birthday or wedding they want to attend. Set up a video call with loved ones living far away. 

Wrapping Up:

The thought of losing a loved one is hard to deal with. But it shouldn’t keep you from doing your best for a terminally ill parent, partner, sibling, or child. You must think beyond your pain and distress, and focus on creating the best memories during the time left with them. 

Try to provide them as much comfort and happiness as possible. Be kind to yourself and your loved one because compassion is the only way to keep going.