Asked and Answered


    Communicating with the Patient

    Our society generally discourages talk about death, dying and illness. For some people this kind of discussion is most difficult with family. You can try several strategies to help your father open up and talk. It’s possible that no matter what you try your dad may be unwilling to talk. This can be hard for you, and if it is, it may help to... read more...
    It’s sometimes hard to know why people respond the way they do to their illness. There could be a lot going on inside your friend that can’t be seen on the outside. He may not seem to be declining rapidly, but may feel inside that things are changing. These changes can include pain , fatigue or lack of appetite, which aren’t necessarily visible... read more...
    Most palliative care programs require people to accept that the programs offer comfort-focused care rather than efforts to cure the underlying illness. This is hard for many people to accept. Even if deep down they are aware of their situation, it’s hard to let go of hope for a cure. This can be frustrating and upsetting for others, but people... read more...
    It may help to start by asking your husband what his fears are. It’s important to understand them and talk about them. Some fears are about what will happen physically. These fears may be eased if he understands what’s ahead, and what the health care team can do for him in his final days. Other fears may be more spiritual or emotional, as... read more...
    It can be very hard to watch someone suffer. Physical, emotional and spiritual suffering are intertwined, and they affect each other. All aspects of suffering need to be acknowledged and addressed. Your mom’s pain is likely a major factor in the distress she’s feeling. It may be this pain that’s making her say she wants to die. Pain can be... read more...
    Your presence and support is the greatest gift you can give your wife. This time can offer you both a chance to talk about things that matter to you. You may want to talk about memorable moments in your lives, share stories about people, or review important events. Let your wife know the positive effect she’s had on you. Encourage family and... read more...
    It’s normal to feel anxious about visiting someone who is dying. Our society discourages talk about death, dying and illness, and few of us have much experience with it. It’s important to remember that even though your friend is dying, she’s still the same person you’ve always known. She’d likely prefer that you treat her as you always have. read more...
    This is a difficult and yet very common experience of caregivers. When someone is not well, they often take out their frustrations and anger on the person who is closest to them. Perhaps they feel it is a safe place to “just be themselves.” In terms of how to respond, it’s important to recognize that anger is a natural and powerful emotion... read more...