It’s that time of year again when we, as a nation, honor our dead loved ones, a tradition we grew up with that was disrupted by the pandemic. It was also because of the latter that the number of people we mourn grew drastically.
This year, I have lost yet another promising and hardworking colleague. It was not the little yet mighty virus that got her. I arrived from overseas in early April to the news that she had been diagnosed with leukemia. She was still the same quiet but cheerful worker on a Friday. The shocking news came the following Monday.
She didn’t cry when she got news of her disease. She cried because the doctor told her she could only go back to work after three months of chemotherapy. She never got back to work physically but she asked to be given work while in her hospital bed. I only agreed because being busy and functional seems to give her fulfillment.
Throughout the battle, she remained calm, composed, brave, and caring. She was thinking more of others, her family, and her co-workers, more than herself. The day before she died, she was still busy looking for important things we needed for our international event. She was unhappy not to be part of it when she was a vital component of the show in the last four years. Hats off to her mother, Lily, and her sisters and relatives who embraced her with understanding, love, and compassion these last painful six months.
In healthcare, one pivotal aspect that demands attention is end-of-life care. This revolves around providing solace, dignity, and unwavering support to individuals near the end of their earthly journey. It is a holistic approach that caters to the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being of patients and their families. The essence of end-of-life care lies in ensuring a tranquil and meaningful transition, while simultaneously honoring the wishes and values of those involved.
Advance care planning entails open and honest discussions regarding an individual’s preferences for medical treatments and interventions when they are no longer capable of making decisions for themselves. By engaging in advance care planning, patients can rest assured that their desires will be respected, minimizing the potential for unnecessary suffering or unwanted medical interventions.
By integrating spiritual care into the end-of-life journey, individuals can find solace, peace, and a sense of purpose during this transitional phase. It serves as a conduit for individuals to connect with their inner selves and higher powers, offering comfort and reassurance.
Within this topic, two crucial components that deserve acknowledgment are hospice and palliative care. Hospice care focuses on providing comfort and support to individuals with terminal illnesses, aiming to enhance their quality of life during the remaining stages of their journey. On the other hand, palliative care can be administered at any stage of a serious illness and aims to alleviate symptoms, manage pain, and improve overall well-being.
Both hospice and palliative care adopt a multidisciplinary approach, encompassing healthcare professionals, social workers, counselors, and spiritual care providers, all working in unison to address the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of patients.
End-of-life care acknowledges the emotional and psychological hurdles that patients and their families often face during this tumultuous period. It encompasses a range of services, including counseling, grief support, and mental health assistance, all aimed at helping individuals cope with the emotional impact of impending death. By providing a safe space for patients and their loved ones to express their fears, anxieties, and grief, support groups and therapy sessions become essential in fostering emotional healing and building resilience.
Recognizing the diverse beliefs and values that individuals hold, end-of-life care places significant importance on spiritual care. This facet of care involves providing spiritual support, guidance, and rituals tailored to patients’ religious or spiritual backgrounds. By integrating spiritual care into the end-of-life journey, individuals can find solace, peace, and a sense of purpose during this transitional phase. It serves as a conduit for individuals to connect with their inner selves and higher powers, offering comfort and reassurance.
By embracing the essence of end-of-life care, we foster a culture that cherishes compassion, empathy, and respect, enabling individuals to face the end of life with grace and tranquility.