If you have never been in the position of having to have to dealt with a life-threatening illness with someone you love and care for, you may not realize that there are four actual phases to help prepare you prepare for the inevitable. As hospice.net stipulates:
1. The phase before the diagnosis. This is where your loved one knows that something is wrong, suspects it could be serious and goes until the actual diagnosis is made.
2. The acute phase occurs when the diagnosis is clear; when the person and their family is forced to understand the diagnosis and make decisions about the future of their care or the decision not to accept care.
3. The chronic phase is between the diagnosis phase (2) and the result of the treatment- if the person accepts treatment. It is the time during which a person tries to live their ‘normal’ life while dealing with any and all side effects from the treatment. This phase can be long-lasting if the treatment is accepted and works for the person.
4. Recovery or death. The final phase is when either the patient goes back to a normal existence or their family must cope with their loss. When the patient knows that there is no chance of recovery, their focus changes from curing the cancer or other terminal illness to prolonging their life (if this is their wish) and providing comfort and relief from their pain. This phase constitutes the mental, social, physical, religious and financial aspects of cancer.
As a caregiver, it is important that you help your clients know that With Age Comes Respect and sometimes helping the family let go is displaying that above and beyond any reasonable doubt.