Comfort, Care, Compassion
Here is some helpful information and supportive care tips to assist in meeting the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of the patient and family during their time dealing with end-of-life and life-changing illnesses.
Assisting the patient:
- Have reflective time on relationships shared
- Share personal stories
- Discuss searching for hope, purpose and meaning in ones life
- Take the time to listen to one another
- Respect the patient’s wishes and dignity
- Assist the patient with spiritual rituals and practices that are of importance to them
- Seek pastoral care from a spiritual counselor, pastor or chaplain if needed
- Ask the patient if they may want to write an ethical will, or the sharing of personal and spiritual values, hopes and blessings, life lessons and special messages. For more information, visit www.ethicalwill.com.
- Humor is allowed. Share the funny moments. Take a laughter break.
- The gift of presence to one another. Just being, not doing or talking. Sitting quietly together reinforces you are not alone; you are loved and cared for, and shows respect and compassion while allowing the patient the opportunity and safety to silently reflect.
For the caregiver:
- Eat regularly, even if it’s just a nutritious snack to keep energy levels up
- Exercise with friends
- Make sure to have quiet time
- Engage in a relaxing activity such as listening to music, meditating, taking a walk, journaling, bathing or showering, having lunch with friends or relaxation exercises such as deep breathing or guided imagery
- Find someone to talk to concerning issues
- Know yourself and what you can handle. Ask for help. People want to help but they might not know what to do. Let them know how to help.
For more information, visit Family Caregiver Alliance for caregiver education, services research, and advocacy resources, both in Spanish and Chinese. A free downloadable caregiver booklet is also available at the National Alliance for Caregiving.