Confronting a Life-Limiting Illness
You are now confronting a late-stage disease. Although this is a difficult and perhaps frightening time you are not alone. There are supportive, compassionate, experienced people in your community who care for you. They can help to ease your pain and support you and your family through this journey.
Every life has a start and an end, yet it may require great courage to accept the end-of-life journey. No one should have to travel down this road alone. Everyone should live the end of their lives with dignity and without pain.
This is not about dying: it is about living well until the end of your life, your way.
- To understand your options for care
- To be a full partner in your care
- To live free of pain
- To have your decisions respected and followed
- To be treated with openness and honesty
- To receive quality care, even though goals may be changed from curative to comfort measures
- To be cared for by sensitive, compassionate, and knowledgeable people who will do their best to understand your needs and meet them.
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care supports persons living with a late-stage life-limiting disease. It provides care for the needs of patients and their loved ones, whether medical, psychological, social, spiritual, or practical.
Physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, and
often spiritual support workers assist friends and family to ease the difficult end-of-life journey. Care can be provided at home, in a hospital, in facilities or in a hospice such as Prairie Lake.
Palliative care considers dying as an important part of living, with pain and
symptom management essential to provide comfort and quality of life. It allows
those facing death, and their loved ones, to devote energy to embracing the time
they have left together.
What will I experience with:
You deserve to make your own choices and help guide the direction of your own health care. Your needs and desires deserve to be respected by all of your caregivers, from your family physician, your nurses and therapists, to your family and friends. Begin a dialogue with your caregivers so that they are always aware of your concerns and wishes. Over time it will be easier for you to be open and honest with these difficult thoughts.
You are a partner on the team that is caring for you at this stage of your life. You deserve to be told as much about your condition and its progression as you want to know at any time. Be open and honest about what and how much detail you want to know. Your loved ones can help too, they can attend physician and care meetings and take notes.
Nobody experiences this time of life in the same exact way. You may feel shocked, numb, disbelief, panicked, helpless, or hopeless. You may feel angry or frightened, anxious or guilty, or terribly sad. Your mind may zigzag between emotions or shut them out altogether. Any reaction is normal. There are no right ways to behave or eel, but there are palliative health care professionals who can help you understand and cope with the power of your own feelings.
Palliative care professionals can provide answers to your questions about death. They aren’t afraid to talk about it, and can respond with straightforward understanding and compassion
Where can I find support?
Grande Prairie Palliative Care Society can help you and your loved ones find the appropriate resources to answers you seek about end-of-life supports and services in our community. We are your resource and advocate, ensuring your needs are a priority to all of your care providers. Remember, you are not alone. We are here to support you.
Please also see “Let’s Start the Conversation” for more information to get you started on sharing your wishes.