End of life is a time when people often contemplate decisions they’ve made and worry about those they’ll be leaving behind. Knowing death is imminent could cause feelings of grief and depression. It’s often hard for loved ones to understand what a dying person is going through because they’ve never experienced it themselves. However, hospice workers have tools and strategies to help the patient and their family members deal with these feelings.
Hospice care is often associated with medications offered for comfort. While a patient may want some pain medication to help them deal with physical feelings, they may also be prescribed pharmaceuticals to help their emotional state as well. Family members who see signs of depression or grief in their loved one should notify their care givers so they can make an assessment and possibly prescribe a medication to help them.
People die every day taking things they wish they would have said with them. This could contribute to feelings of loss. If the person or people a dying patient wants to communicate with a alive and available, hospice workers may make an effort to contact them so they have a chance to hear what the patient has to say. In some cases, this may not be possible. When it isn’t, family members may offer to get the message to the other person so the patient doesn’t feel like they never made an effort.
Dying patients may feel guilty if their illness is related to their own life choices. They might regret not being able to see their children get married or watch their grandchildren grow up because they smoked cigarettes, used drugs or participated in other risky behaviors. Hospice workers may give the patient the opportunity to talk about their guilt with someone who won’t judge them.
Hospice offers comfort for both physical and emotional pain. Loved ones of patients in hospice should share their concerns with the staff to ensure the patient gets all the care they need at the end of their life. With all the pharmaceuticals available and knowledge hospice workers have about grief, most issues can be addressed.