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How to Have a Better End-of-Life Experience

Dying is a taboo subject in American culture. It’s something that most people don’t want to think about, let alone discuss with their loved ones. Yet this important life transition is on the minds of many elderly and terminally ill patients. It’s natural to experience fear, grief and worry in the final stages of life. However, there are several things you can do to make the end-of-life transition easier for yourself or a loved one.

Make the Connection

Now is the time to make memories. From playing a game with your grandchild to exchanging “I love yous” with a spouse or beloved friend, embrace every moment that you have with your loved ones. Positive experiences can boost the patient’s spirit and provide comfort to loved ones. The last words and experiences that we have with a terminally ill family member are often the ones we remember most.

Decide Where You Want to Be

One of the most important decisions terminal patients make is determining where and how they want to live out their final days. Common location options include hospitals, nursing homes, onsite hospice facilities or at home. A TIME/CNN poll found that 70% of Americans would prefer to pass at home, while the CDC reported that nearly half of Americans spend their last moments in a hospital. Outpatient programs such as Santé Hospice allow patients to receive end-of-life treatment in the comfort of their homes.

Choose the Best Program

There are many factors that should be looked at when choosing a care program. When and how will you receive palliative care? Who will be available to help and/or talk to the patient? A 2015 case study from the UK’s End of Life Partnership found that not having a 24/7 support system was one of the major problems with end-of-life programs, according to surviving friends and relatives. Santé’s palliative care and hospice services come with round-the-clock support and availability to ensure the patient remains comfortable throughout day and night.

Give Communication a Boost

Don’t be afraid to talk and ask questions during this difficult time. While friends, family and even doctors may avoid discussing end-of-life scenarios, it is essential that the patient’s wishes be understood. Has your loved one been diagnosed with a terminal illness? Be open to whatever he or she needs, whether its talking through feelings, discussing legal matters or simply reminiscing about better times. If the discussion turns to matters you find upsetting, include a friend, clergy member or other family member who can help. If you are the one faced with these decisions, be firm in your need to ask questions or have your wishes heard.

There are many gratifying experiences that patients can have as they near the final stages of life. According to researchers at the University of North Carolina, patients nearest to death were actually more positive than their peers. They reported increased connection with loved ones and feelings of peace as their final days approached. By selecting the best care program and ensuring your feelings and final wishes are understood, you can turn your attentions to making lasting memories with the people you love most. For information on Santé Hospice and palliative care options, call 480-563-2402 or contact us online.

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