Tags: Hospice

When facing a loved one’s progressive or terminal illness, families and close friends find themselves on a uniquely emotionally challenging journey, which may bring overwhelming stress and anticipatory grief among many other difficult emotions.

Why Comfort Can’t Wait

Transitioning a loved one experiencing a progressive or terminal illness is filled with difficulty and uncertainty. However, the choice often allows for swift relief and enhanced quality of life and comfort during one’s final days. Most individuals transitioning to hospice care report that symptom management was brought to comfortable levels within 48 hours.

Hospice care focuses on addressing not only physical needs but also emotional and spiritual well-being; on average, individuals in hospice care live about 29 days longer than those who aren’t enrolled. Every moment counts, and hospice care offers individuals with progressive or terminal illnesses an opportunity to live more fully while supporting families and loved ones during this challenging journey.

Getting Started with Hospice Care

If you find yourself beginning this process, please know that you are not alone. Here are a few coping strategies and support resources available for families, friends, and caregivers during this difficult time. BAYADA Hospice has thousands of compassionate, local, skilled hospice professionals ready to provide support and care to help navigate the process of beginning end-of-life home care services with strength and grace.

Coping Skills for a Caregiver New to Hospice

  1. Knowledge is key:
    As a caregiver for someone who is facing a progressive or terminal illness, understanding your loved one's diagnosis is vital in providing them with the best possible care. Educate yourself about the illness, treatment options, symptoms of progression, and potential challenges for yourself and for them. Knowledge will empower you to make informed decisions and feel more confident in your role as caregiver.
  2. It takes a village:
    You and your loved one will need emotional support; if not now, at some point during this journey. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or local support groups to create a space to share your feelings, experiences, and challenges. Talking to others, especially those who have been through similar situations, can provide validation, suggestions, and comfort while you are in the thick of it. Don't hesitate to lean on your support network whenever you need them, because this experience will have highs and lows which are always easier to bear when we have a village to help carry the weight.
  3. You cannot pour from an empty cup:
    It’s a cliché for a reason – it is easy to lose yourself in the weeds when caring for a loved one with a progressive or terminal illness who is receiving hospice care. The experience can be physically and emotionally draining, so it’s important that you remember to take care of yourself, too. Self-care doesn’t always have to be a day away at the spa, or a beach vacation. Prioritizing your own proper nutrition, making sure to work in regular exercise and sufficient rest, or setting aside a few minutes to yourself every day can be crucial to your well-being as a caregiver.
  4. Give yourself space to grieve:
    Caregivers facing a loved one’s progressive or terminal illness can commonly experience “anticipatory grief,” or mourning them while they are still alive. It’s okay to feel these hard emotions as your loved one’s illness progresses. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings as valid and real and seek professional counseling or support groups to help process your emotions, if necessary.
  5. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your loved one:
    Caregivers are only human and it’s okay to realize that you cannot do it alone. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your support network. Have a plan for when and how to seek help from other family members or professional caregivers if or when that time comes. Remember: accepting help from others or arranging professional assistance does not diminish the love you have or commitment you made; it merely ensures the best care for your loved one.
  6. Celebrate the good moments when you have them:
    Caring for someone during their end-of-life journey does not have to be solely a somber time together. While there will certainly be challenges, there will also be times for laughter, light, and love. Cherish the positive moments you share with your loved one when they come. Take this opportunity to celebrate your lives and memories you already have together and perhaps take the time to create new memories that will bring you comfort and smiles in the future.
  7. Consider professional in-home hospice care:
    In-home hospice care services can provide specialized support not just for your loved one, but for their friends and family as well. BAYADA Hospice is dedicated to offering compassionate end-of-life care that focuses on comfort, dignity, and quality of life. We have a wide range of experienced professionals who can provide medical, emotional, and spiritual support, easing the burden during this sensitive time.

Contact BAYADA Hospice

If you are seeking support for your loved one's end-of-life journey, contact BAYADA Hospice today. A caring team of skilled hospice care providers can guide you through the process of initiating end-of-life care and offer tailored services to meet your family's unique needs. Reach out 24/7 for assistance from your local BAYADA Hospice office and get the support and comfort your loved one deserves.

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About the Author

Founded in 1975 by Founder and Chairman Mark Baiada, BAYADA has become a trusted leader in providing a full range of clinical care and support services at home for children and adult of all ages. Since then, BAYADA has remained true to Mark’s commitment to purpose by finding, training, and supporting employing who take pride and find joy in healing and helping.

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