Thursday, January 28, 2016

Using A Hospice Book On The Dying Process

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By Jennifer Martin

Receiving the news that you or someone you care about has only a few months or weeks to live is one of the worst things that can happen to anybody. Death comes to us all, but we often put it out of our minds until faced with its impending reality. If you are caring for someone who is going through the end stages of life, it is useful to find a hospice book on the dying process to guide you through the many issues, practical, legal, medical, and emotional, with which you are suddenly faced.

Sometimes, families get several months' notice that someone is terminally ill. In other circumstances, there is insufficient time to adjust to the idea. You play the hand you're dealt. In the end, no matter how well prepared you think you are, when the moment arrives, there will still be shock waves. In the meantime, the time interval is an opportunity to sort out the distribution of property, discuss practical matters and sort through the myriad emotions.

Once the shock dies down following the awareness that death is imminent, there is a lot to think about. What physical changes will take place over what period of time? Dispersal of the individual's estate needs to be sorted out. There are issues of end of life care, organ donation and advanced directives regarding the individual's wishes about being resuscitated.

Everyone deals with impending death differently. Some individuals can resign themselves to the prospect and adjust quickly. Others will go out screaming and kicking every step of the way.

The same could be said of friends and relatives. In addition to managing the physical and medical issues, there will be a barrage of emotions to manage. Hopefully, the event will enable people to reconcile long-standing differences.

Two emotionally-charged topics that need to be resolved are organ donation and how much medical intervention is acceptable if the need arises. Having both of these decisions documented will save misunderstandings and make life much easier later on when the need arises. Make sure all interested parties are duly informed.

Some people choose to spend their last few weeks on earth in a hospice, which is a specialized care center dedicated to the needs of the dying. Others will require the high-tech support of the hospital environment. Where possible, dying at home affords familiarity, comfort, and privacy.

While every individual case is different, there are certain aspects that they have in common, and it is helpful for caregivers to have a book where they can look things up. The experience is much easier, or, at least, less fraught if everyone has an idea of what to expect.

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