One of the greatest burdens is to receive a bad medical diagnosis. Some may be terrifying and involve a chance of death while other cases are terminal pronouncements. These challenges involve first digesting the terrifying diagnosis. This alone is a challenge and can cause time to adjust to the challenge ahead. Whether its a long road to recovery or potential death, one must eventually overcome the initial shock wave of grief and denial and move forward.
The article, “The Importance of Grief and Acceptance After a Diagnosis” by Jori Hamilton states,
“Many people, after learning any type of serious diagnosis go through different stages of grief. Grief doesn’t just apply to death, it applies to other types of loss as well.”
Please also review our Grief Counseling Program as well as our Pastoral Thanatology program. Both programs can help professionals with the training they need to help others through the process of grief and death.
There is much to learn about life from the elderly. In their dying days they can also teach us how to reflect on life and live it to the fullest. In many ways we can help them and they can help teach us. In Pastoral Care, those who help the dying can help and learn.
The article, “Lessons on Living From My 106-Year-Old Aunt Doris” by Barry Eisenberg discusses how much we can learn in our care of the elderly. She states,
“I have been involved in health care for my entire professional life, as a hospital executive, consultant and professor of health care management. But the time spent with my aunt at the end of her life taught me more about living and dying than all my experience had prepared me for.”
A discussion about cancer is everyone’s greatest fear. Noone wishes to face the reality of death and its possibility. Cancer brings that. In the case of a loved one, discussing what could happen is even more painful. It is important to learn how to talk to our loved ones about cancer or the great “what if”. It is important to have that conversation without losing hope.
The article, “How to Talk to a Loved One Dying From Cancer” by John Edwards states,
On the other hand, avoiding talking about death can create unnecessary tension, irritation, and that can detach you from having some memorable moments with the people you care about. And it will only elevate the sense of loneliness, excessive fear, and sadness for both of you.
Great article on what Palliative Care as part of the overall Hospice care. Palliative care is more diverse in that it deals with the serious illness at any phase, helping many recover. Sometimes, it leads to ultimately hospice in itself, but Palliative Care can be part of your medical team.
The article, “A Good Life And A Good Death: What Is Palliative Care?: by Camel Wroth states,
“Palliative care is attending to the physical, emotional and spiritual suffering of patients and families who are dealing with a serious illness. Hospice is a type of palliative care that we provide in the last six months of life.”
Grief and loss are difficult themes. It is hard for the individual to overcome basic loss, but complications can even make grief more difficult. One time of grief is ambiguous grief, or the type of grief that is lost in between, or the grey areas of loss.
The classic example of someone who is dying slowly is an example of ambiguous grief. The family is left with the long awaited death, but still try to keep hope. The family sees the person suffer, with some hoping for the suffering to end, with others sometimes unknowingly selfishly cannot let go.
The purgatory of ambiguous grief can later lead to other complications. Some may feel guilty over the death of a loved one for having caregiver fatigue, while others may feel guilty they wished the person would finally die to find peace.
Complicated grief can emerge from many of these scenarios later in the grieving process. For some though, ambiguous grief is just a period of conflicting emotions where one finds joy then sadness with also hope and despair.
While dealing with long term illness of a family member, family members need to just be free to feel. They should not feel guilty or resentful, but respect the process, cherish the time left, and allow the grieving process to continue. In fact, such long term deaths, prepare many for the death of the a loved, and while the loss is still impactful, it is not sudden. The grief process has already begun well before the death.
When dealing with long term grief over a terminal illness of a loved one, it may be good to consult a certified Grief Counselor or speak with a someone educated in Pastoral Thanatology. One can find the guidance and relief they need during this process.
Please review our Pastoral Thanatology program, as well as our Grief Counseling program to see if they meet your academic and professional needs.
Good article looking at how skilled nursing facilities could also play a role in end of life care, especially in palliative care where the treatment is still in process.
The article, “Turn-Key CEO: Why Palliative Care Must Soon Come to Skilled Nursing” by Maggie Flynn looks at how SNF have in the past have their own limitations but could in the future be an excellent fit. The article states,
“The first thing I think we would do would be really look at it from a regulatory perspective, to better understand the credentialing process, and how to work with SNF concentrations. Because some of our partners do have preferred SNFs, and have expressed serious interest in having this type of service in that SNF population.”
Good article on a doctor’s bedside manner and how all physicians should be trained in pastoral care. Doctors, as well as nurses, need to have the empathy and understanding to help others face death. Too many times, healthcare professionals are too sterile in their demeanor with the dying.
The article, “A chance encounter with a sand painting helped me learn how to doctor patients I knew I would lose” Sunita Puri, M.D. states,
“As a palliative care doctor, I spend much of my time face-to-face with pain and suffering, debilitating disease and death. When I began my training, I thought I was comfortable with the idea of mortality, and with the notion that fighting death at all costs wasn’t the sole purpose of medicine. But I hadn’t expected that the type of medicine I’d chosen to practice would require a strength and perspective that medical training hadn’t offered.”
Good article explaining the key differences between hospice care and palliative care. It is important to know which program is best for you or a loved one and to use them correctly. Ultimately, it is about the best care and comfort for the situation.
The article, “‘That Good Night’ Perfectly Explains How Palliative Care Differs From Hospice” by Judy Stone states,
“That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour,” reminded me how poorly the U.S. deals with palliative care—a specialty that focuses on symptom relief—let alone end of life decisions and hospice care. The two terms are different and commonly misunderstood.”
So many think they are not eligible for Hospice and so many more think they have to die to enter into it. These are both myths. Hospice is available for many and is not necessarily a death sentence. It is not about giving up on life but living life.
The article, “Mark Harvey: You may qualify for hospice — and you’re not required to die” by Mark Harvey, looks at the true realities behind hospice. The article states,
So, basically, hospice care is not about trying to cure a terminal illness; it’s about improving the quality of the life that the patient has left. And it does a remarkable job of doing that.
Approaching the question of death with a healthy mindset is important. Too many times, death and dying is put off and ignored. This can create untimely preparation and confusion surrounded by the sadness. Hence talking about death is important.
The article,”Changing the National Conversation around Death” looks at the importance of discussing death and dying. It states,
“From anti-aging beauty regimens to strict diets and medical screenings, Western culture places immense value on the quality and preservation of life. Death, however, is a subject largely absent from daily conversation, and when raised, it evokes fear and anxiety.”