How to Help When the Patient is Terminal Tips

Read these 10 How to Help When the Patient is Terminal Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cancer tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How can help the family?

The Living Room is Not Your Home.

Don't camp out. Meaning: if you want to see the patient and they are sleeping don't park yourself in the living room until they wake up. Come back in a few hours or the next day. Also, the patient may not want visitors, and if they don't, don't take it personally.

   
How often should I call?

Email instead of calling

When the family is dealing with a terminal patient, they experiece a catch-22. They appreciate the love and support via phone calls from family and friends, yet they resent the fact that the phone never stops ringing.

Create a newsletter and send all the information updates to the concerned family and friends. Request they stop calling the house and rely on their newsletters. If they don't have email, create a webpage (www.suite101.com will host a webpage for free) that lists the updates. They can then visit their library or Internet cafe to receive updates.

Once the patient passes, then make the phone calls to everyone.

   
How can I help the family?

Mail Call.

Sort their mail. Put bill, insurance, and other important papers in one pile. Letters and non-critical mail go into another pile, and toss the junk mail. If you're comfortable with it, open their bills to find the due date. Mark your calendar to remind the family when the bill is due. Chances are they won't be keeping track.

   
How can help the family?

The Living Room is Not Your Home.

Don't camp out. Meaning: if you want to see the patient and they are sleeping don't park yourself in the living room until they wake up. Come back in a few hours or the next day. Also, the patient may not want visitors, and if they don't, don't take it personally.

   
What can I do to help the family?

Take care of the pets.

Come by to take the dog for a walk, clean out the litter box, and feed the fish.

This is a good job for kids that what to give but some of the bigger jobs are for adults only.

   
How can I help the family?

Dinner is served.

Bring dinner over, homemade or take-out. If a lot of visitors have been by that day - don't stay for dinner unless you've been invited out of desire for your company instead of politeness. After a long day of people in and out, the family probably doesn't feel up to entertaining.

   
How can I help the family?

Night watch

If you're comfortable with it, offer to stand night watch. Some patients need round the clock care, with someone always awake to tend to them. This usually falls onto the family and they only get a few hours of sleep a night. With you awake taking care of the patient, the family gets a much needed full nights sleep.

   
What can I do to help the family?

Taxi!

Be a taxi service. Offer to pick up people up at the airport and drop them back off. Run errands for the family. Before you leave to come over and visit, call asking if there is anything you can pick up at the store.

   
How can I help the family?

Professionally speaking.

Volunteer your professional services for the family and patient. Whatever your product or service is, the family may need it. If you run a beauty salon, offer a house call to give manicures and pedicures to the patient and family. If you're a lawyer, do their living trust and ensure other legal papers are in order.

The family will appreciate it and give you referrals, "When Joan was sick, Michelle came over and gave her a manicure. She did a really great job, and Joan was so thrilled. Michelle really brightened her day."

   
How can I help the family?

Special Delivery

Tell far away family and friends to send deliveries (flowers, packages) to your house instead. Every afternoon deliver the goodies. This way the family doesn't feel extra stress of having delivery people arriving throughout the day.

   
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Barbara Gibson