Dealing With Death And Dying

Written by on January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized with 0 Comments

024006774_Wheelchair in a hospitalA Certified Patient Care Technician’s professional career can be a mixture of both good and bad times as you experience the faces of life and death. Depending on the medical environment that you choose to work in you may find yourself holding a new born baby in your hands and later care for patients that are fighting with incurable diseases and are perhaps taking the last few breaths of their lives. You will find that every patient has his or her own unique way of handling death. If you work in Palliative Care (according to World Health Organization, “active total care of patients, whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment” is known as palliative care) you will need to follow proper protocol to help in get your patients through this phase.

Palliative Care includes management of physical, psychological, social, spiritual and existential needs of your patient. Understanding cultural and religious values of your patient plays an important role while giving your patient the best possible quality care during his or her time of suffering at the end of their life.
Palliative Care helps your patient and their family members in managing spiritual issues and physical pain. You will help guide them through changes during the dying process. Relieving stress for your terminally ill patient and their family members is the one main objective of this care. You need continuing education to develop the necessary skills required for providing care to terminally ill patients. As the years go by and you have gain more knowledge and experience related to dying patients, your skills and expertise will be beneficial as our society moves towards a ever larger aging population

Relieving severe physical pain and mental stress is among the most common objective in Palliative Care. Anxiety, fear, fatigue, depression and insomnia are some common factors that come into play when a patient faces intense pain. Due to pain and weakness a lot of Palliative Care patients lose their self-confidence. Your care needs to include helping the patient eliminate some of the physiological hurdles and help your patient build confidence towards his or her medical treatment. Take time to listen and be empathic towards their complaints and especially their pain.

Consider your patient’s changing moods. If he or she refuse routine care like bathing or even combing their hair, you should not try to force them. Give them some time and once their mood changes and they seem more comfortable, you can bring the topic up again. Your patient might refuse to eat or they don’t like the food on their meal tray. Be empathic and communicate with him or her the role of a proper diet in their treatment. Find out what food they prefer and inform your supervisor in case the doctor or kitchen can adjust the meals in the future.

Most of all don’t make assumptions regarding your patient’s pain or suffering. Get to know your patient and trust them to convey to you their condition and level of pain. Try different solutions to relieve their pain like a hot towel, warm blanket or warm water bottle. You chose to be a Patient Care Technician because you desire to make a difference in patients lives. Palliative Care can be a difficult part of medical care, but you and your patients can experience gratifying times together as your patient moves through the phases of his or her final days.


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