Having a family conversation about your end of life wishes and putting them in writing ( advance directive) is the first step. The second is to have the basic skills on how to care for someone at the end of life.
9/10 people want to be kept at home if terminally ill. We need to help those patients and families to accomplish this.
I have been a registered nurse for over 10 years. Most of my career has been with working with end of life patients and their loved ones. The skill of caring for those who are at the end has become lost over the last 100 years. It is time we bring it back.
There Are 3 Phase of End of Life Care
1) The Shock Phase- This is when someone first gets a terminal diagnosis.
What you can do: Remember that this person has just lost all control over their life. Being a great listener and giving them back control of as much decision making is key. Ask "What can i do for you?" Be a supportive presence and let them direct their needs. This is the same for the loved ones. Remember that everyone attached to this patient is going through this experience and needs support.
2) The Stabilization Phase- This is where all the acute issues ex. pain, nausea, etc. have been stabilized and the patient has the highest quality of life. It is the time where conversations can be had. Closure and Forgiveness are key elements
in this phase. The stabilization phase is where the "work" can get done. We never know how long we will have in this phase. Peace and serenity are vital to a positive passing. Saying what needs to be said is so important.
3) The Transition Phase- This is where the body starts to systematically shut down. It is usually the time where the patient will go into a "sleeping coma" before they die. This period can go very fast and have many changes.
What can you do: Knowing that our bodies tend to shut down the same way is a beautiful fact that connects us all. Not everyone will experience every step, but we can anticipate what we may see and what we can suggest for comfort. Even telling a family that what they are seeing ( for example rapid breathing) is a natural part of the end of life experience helps tremendously.
Examples of Transitioning are:
1) Patients will lose the ability/desire to eat/swallow
2)patients may become restless
3)sleep most of the time
4)talk about seeing past loved ones
5) become incontinent
It is our goal to have as many people trained with the skill of caring for those at end of life as possible. The Goal: To have this phase in our loved ones lives as positive as possible.
Please Join me for my COMPLIMENTARY 30 minute WEBINAR on www.suzannebobrien.com. REGISTER AT
ENROLLMENT is now open for The on-line END OF LIFE DOULA TRAINING
LEVELS 1,2 & 3
REGISTRATION IS OPEN FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
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