When you’re the primary caregiver for someone you love who has a life-limiting illness, there are critical decisions to make. You’ll quickly discover that there are many hats to wear. You’ll become the nurse, the caregiver, the cleaning person, the companion, and more. Caring for a loved one who has a life-limiting illness is a time-consuming but ultimately rewarding process. You’re helping someone you love achieve comfort and joy through compassionate support.
However, it’s not something that anyone should manage alone. It’s a stressful time for everyone involved, and you must remember to ask for help when you need it.
Did you know that there are compassionate palliative care services available that offer at-home care? At-home palliative care is a unique type of healthcare that supports people with serious illnesses. It’s designed to manage pain and work in conjunction with primary medications and treatments, such as chemotherapy.
Many people living with life-limiting conditions do not want to leave the comfort and familiarity of home. They don’t want to move out of a place that they know and love to live in a hospital or a healthcare facility where they’d feel alienated from friends and family.
We talked to professional palliative caregivers and nurses to learn more about the service and how family members and friends can provide compassionate and educated support to loved ones with life-limiting illnesses at home.
Communicate With Palliative Healthcare Workers
A vital step to take in understanding your loved one’s experience is to know about their disease. Collect resources from online sources or the library to learn more about the illness — its progression stages, symptoms, and background — and then discuss your questions and concerns with your loved one’s doctors, nurses, and caregivers.
You’ll want to communicate with your palliative care team regularly to understand better what’s happening with your loved one. By spending so much time with your friend or family member, you’ll be a crucial asset to the healthcare team. You’ll all have the opportunity to share information and details about your loved one’s health, and be on the same page.
Talk to Your Loved One
Arguably the most crucial aspect to taking care of a loved one with a life-limiting disease is to communicate as transparently with them as possible. Ask your friend or family member how they’re doing and what they want. Let them know early that palliative care is an option and that they can receive it at any stage of their illness. Pay attention to their signals: are they in pain or hungry? Watch for expressive signs, maybe on their face or through body language that you will slowly start to recognize.
It’s critical to remember that depending on what type of illness your loved one has, their cognitive ability may be more potent and clearer at the beginning of the disease’s diagnosis. You’ll want to have any serious conversations about healthcare plans sooner than later so your friend or family member will have the opportunity to participate fully.
With a bit of support, education, and fine-tuned listening skills, your friend or family member will be in good hands. Find a home healthcare agency near you that offers palliative care to give your loved ones the comfort and quality of life they deserve.