When your loved one is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, it is important to keep communication as clear and direct as possible. Work at keeping the lines of communication open with your loved one, with his or her doctor, and with your family. Recognize your family's style of communication. How did your family communicate before your loved one was diagnosed with this serious illness? Were you able to communicate freely and openly, or were there barriers to your communication, such as frequent arguments or a lack of sharing? If you encounter barriers, consider visiting a counselor to help resolve difficult issues and to help your family learn some effective ways to communicate.
Talk to your loved one and his or her doctor about the life-limiting diagnosis. Questions to ask the doctor include:
Talk to your loved one about his or her wishes. What end-of-life goals does he or she have? How do these goals compare with yours? If your loved one has not communicated his or her end-of-life wishes, talk about them now. Important issues to discuss include:
Caring for a dying loved one can be a rewarding but difficult experience. Taking care of yourself, letting the person do as much as he or she can, and asking for help are three key tips to help both you and the person you're caring for. Services, such as hospice and support groups, can also provide help. For more information, see the topic Caregiver Tips.
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Shelly R. Garone, MD, FACP - Palliative Medicine
Current as ofMarch 12, 2014
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