Hospice care: Things to know about caring for the terminally ill

When a doctor diagnosed your loved one with an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma or asbestosis, he or she likely explained that there is currently no cure for such illnesses. As time goes on, symptoms typically worsen. The central focus of care in such situations is palliative in nature, meaning the goal is to keep the patient as comfortable as possible in the time he or she has left.

Hospice care is often a valuable component of caring for a terminally ill loved one. Especially in situations where you know your loved one's illness was preventable were it not for an employer's negligence, it can be emotionally traumatic to try to cope with the situation while doing your best to help your family member live as high quality a life as he or she is able to do.

People who can provide support

Your loved one will have to rely on many people as his or her condition deteriorates. The more you know about what types of resources are available in your community, the better able you can help the terminally ill patient in your life. Some of the people on the following list may also be able to provide encouragement and support for you, as well: 

  • Your loved one's primary care physician is a priority person in your life, especially when there appears to be weeks or months left until the patient passes.
  • The nurses on a hospice team provide strong support, not only to patients themselves but to family members, as well.
  • Speaking to a pharmacist can help you determine which medication can help relieve discomfort the most when your family member's symptoms get worse.
  • Many hospice organizations staff volunteers who can sit by your loved one's bedside or otherwise relieve you of your duties while you get some fresh air or go to the cafeteria to get something to eat.
  • An experienced personal injury attorney can explain the litigation process, which many asbestos injury victims and their families choose to navigate in order to seek compensation for damages they have suffered.

Social workers and spiritual or mental health counselors are other assets to have on hand as your loved one nears the end of life. A counselor who is experienced in assisting the terminally ill can recommend ways to approach discussion with your family member, as many terminally ill patients have things they want to say and things they would like family members to do when they pass.

The legal side of the illness

Mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos injury illnesses often devastate the lives of those afflicted and their families. Many Pennsylvania families take comfort in knowing that even though they can't cure their family members, they can at least seek justice against those who negligence caused them to suffer.

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