Care at the End of Life - The Dying Process
Pain and other symptoms
can be so feared that a person considers
physician-assisted death. But pain associated with the
dying process can be managed effectively.
Any pain should be reported to your family and your
doctor. Many medicines and alternative methods (such as massage) are available
to treat the pain associated with dying. Do not hesitate to ask for help. Have
a loved one report your pain if your illness prevents you from communicating
with your doctor.
You may want to protect your family from your
suffering. But it is important to tell them if your pain level is not tolerable
so they can tell your doctor right away.
If you and your doctor are not able to control your pain, ask about seeing a pain management specialist. This is a doctor who finds ways to treat pain that won't go away.
Spirituality refers to a person's
sense of meaning and purpose in life. It also refers to a person's relationship
to a higher power or an energy that gives life meaning.
people do not think of spiritual matters often. For others, spirituality is a
part of daily life. Facing the end of your life may cause you to confront your
own spiritual questions and issues. Organized religion provides comfort to many
people as they face death. Others may find solace in exploring nature, through
community involvement, by strengthening existing relationships, or by
developing new relationships. Think about what provides comfort and support to
you. What questions and concerns do you have? Don't hesitate to ask for support
from friends, family, hospice, or spiritual advisers.
Caring for a dying loved one
The dying process can
be a time for growth. It offers the dying person and his or her family and
friends a time to mend relationships, share memories, and say their good-byes.
If you are a
caregiver, it is important to communicate openly with
your dying loved one. Also, seek support from others and
take care of yourself so you don't become physically and mentally