Holistic Care for Serious, Chronic or Terminal Patients
'To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose, under heaven' to take a quote from an infamous song (Turn! Turn! Turn), I could not have said it any better! I believe that taking a holistic approach to life, even unto death is the most loving, caring compassionate way to be.
I speak continually about how we can enhance our life by consuming organic products and taking a holistic approach but have not scratched the surface of how we should also take that same approach to those we love that have a serious illness, chronic illness or are terminal.
I have experienced first hand, how truly important it is to supplement the care of our loved ones even unto the time of departure. When my mother received a terminal diagnosis in May 2017, with that prognosis came an entirely different approach to the remaining seasons I have shared with mother.
I have read many articles on anxiety, panic, depression and how it affects those that have been given a diagnosis (serious, chronic or terminal) and the statistics state that as many as 77% of patients suffer from any one/all of those symptoms. Another article from ADAA, says 40% of cancer patients suffer from those same afflictions.
Jasmine Nagel, BSN, RN, Clinical Supervisor for a Hospice in Northern Illinois says, "although every patient (she has served in hospice) may not experience all three (anxiety, panic, depression) many of them will experience one or more depending on a variety of factors such as: support network, acceptance of diagnosis/prognosis, quality of life and quality of care".
Patients can also experience a number of other ailments at any given time throughout their season, such as:
* constipation (from lack of movement or medication induced)
* dry mouth/throat and chapped lips
* dry and or itchy skin
* muscle aches and stiffness
* bed sores or open sores
* chest congestion (due to immobility or illness progression)
Providing our loved ones with supportive care to ensure they can have the best quality of life possible and preserve their dignity, throughout their illness and confinement is what is most important. I cannot stress enough how important quality of life and dignity is to your loved one.
While they may require medications for pain or symptom management there are also some holistic ways to help support them and relieve suffering of symptoms to improve the quality of life for them. Once my mother received her diagnosis and I was a primary person involved in her care, I made sure that I was able to provide her with as much adjunct therapy to help preserve her quality of life and dignity.
Essential oils used therapeutically are helpful for symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic, chest congestion and even pain. Massage is helpful in relieving muscle aches and pains (usually due to immobility or illness) as well as providing the added benefit of touch therapy. A good organic lip moisturizer can help with the dry chapped lips as well as a good organic cream (not lotion) for the skin to help ease the symptoms of dry and itchy skin that patients encounter (from dehydration, illness progression). A topical patch to reduce inflammation, nausea and vomiting as the oral or suppository medication often takes awhile to work or does not work well. A good organic topical cream or gel to soothe , aid and provide comfort and care of the skin.
I know from experience that seeing a family member or friend suffering we can feel helpless in not knowing what we can do to help. Some things I would encourage you to do:
* Inform yourself with as much information as you can about the illness/diagnosis and what to expect
* Speak with your loved one about their wishes and treatment plan and support them in whatever decision they make
* Provide any additional holistic support and care you can for them, even something so little as a warm wet cloth to clean their face and applying lip balm on their lips is showing them how much love and care for their well being
* Hold their hands and tell them how much they mean to you and that you are there for them NO MATTER WHAT
Always consult with a medical professional for advice before you use any adjunct therapy to assist in the care of your loved one.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions that I can assist with, I am happy to help in any way I can. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.