A beautiful friend of mine is a palliative care nurse. Of course, we often ‘talk shop’ and she suggested that it would be a fabulous idea to have a lanyard card that nurses and other health professionals could carry around with tips on how to be with a palliative from the spiritual/emotional perspective. So I got thinking. And one night, just after I got into bed and was ready to settle down for sleep, these words came – of course it was just after I got into bed!! lolz
When you are working with a palliative patient, remember to Be PRESENT :
PRESENT – Be fully present & avoid being distracted when you are with them
As a society, we isolate and separate our dying from the living. The few moments that you spend with the palliative patient as you go about your day could be the only human contact they have that day.
RELIGIOUS/SPIRITUAL – Know, respect & honour their beliefs, irrespective of yours
I heard recently of an atheist man to whom staff at his hospice kept saying “God Bless You”. While no doubt well meaning, that was very insulting and disrespectful to this man and added to his stress.
ENQUIRE – Enquire about everything, don’t assume
The quiet patient might just be quiet, or they might be quiet because they are embarrassed that they have wet themselves etc or “don’t want to bother you”.
SACRED – Remember this is a sacred experience you are sharing with them
I promise you, if you be fully present in sharing this journey with your patient, you will receive so many gifts and blessings (yes, and sometimes lessons). This is a most sacred time for all of you.
ENCOURAGE – Encourage them to talk about their experience, if appropriate. We isolate our dying by not talking about it
Loved ones may often be fearful of talking about what’s happening or acknowledging that this person is dying. Your patient may need someone to just listen to them share their experience for a while.
NEW – You might have experienced a palliative journey before, but to them this is all new & can be sometimes scary
Some patients are well informed on what to expect while others have no idea and even the smallest changes can be cause for concern. Utilise your knowledge and experience to bring comfort.
TREAT – See them as a whole person, not just their disease/illness/or that they’re dying
This is the number one thing I hear from my clients, “I am still here”, “I am still a whole person”, “I still have worth and value”, “I am more than my disease”, “I am not dead yet”. I discover some of the most wonderful life stories and experiences in talking with people and I love seeing people’s eyes light up when they get to share.
These are pretty simple steps, but I can assure you, they will make the world of difference to your patients as well as to you.
For a limited time, I am supplying these cards free of charge – just need to sort out a slot hole punch & we are good to go!! They are slightly smaller than credit card size. If you would like some, please just email me at peace@SpiritualPalliativeCare.com
Peace & blessings, Sharon