When a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it can be one of the most trying challenges any family can face. If your loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, one of the best things you can do in this situation is to provide them with palliative care, especially palliative care at home. Palliative care focuses on providing care for someone with a terminal illness, and a number of professionals (such as district nurses, doctors, caregivers, and a special team of palliative care workers) work closely together to provide the patient with the right medical care and comfort they need. But you can do your part as well – you can provide your loved one with the right comfort, relaxation, and perhaps even therapy so their last days can be more comfortable and less taxing for everyone. Here’s what you can do.
A comfortable environment
Your loved one may spend a lot of their time in bed and in their own bedroom, and you can provide them with a more peaceful, comfortable environment by making sure the room has a peaceful, calming feel. You can do this with soft, relaxing lighting (lights with dimmer switches are ideal, as are lamps), and you can fill the room with personal photos and mementos which your loved one may appreciate. Pay attention to their bed and bed linen as well, and they may want extra pillows which allow them to sit up from time to time.
Activities which can help them relax
Your loved one undergoing palliative care at home may also appreciate it if you help them do things which they like but can find difficult to do on their own under the present circumstances. You can, for instance, go out to the garden or the local park with them for a stroll if it is a nice day, or you can simply read to them, watch television or a film together, or have a simple chat. Ask them if there is anything they would like to do; sometimes it can be nice to simply sit together, hold their hand, and appreciate the quiet.
Options for therapy
Therapy comes in many forms, and this can include therapy in the form of touch, aromatherapy, meditation, and so on. Touch is a particularly powerful form of therapy – a simple touch or hug can speak volumes and help your loved one relax. Your loved one may even like a gentle, soothing massage, and a massage may help them have better sleep as well. It would be good to remember, though, that there may be days when they don’t want to be touched or massaged, so you should be mindful of this as well.
Therapy can also come in the form of aromatherapy, where essential oils with different scents can be diffused in the room, such as lavender (known for its calming and soothing properties). Of course, you should ask the medical professional first if this can be done; it’s best to be sure. But often, the best thing you can do is to be there for them and stand by their side during this truly difficult time.