Helpful ideas regarding care of a terminally ill loved one

If your loved one is one of many in Illinois who have been concerned about lingering, adverse health symptoms, it likely means that your family has been feeling a bit stressed. There are many reasons why it's important to seek medical attention if you or a family member isn't feeling well but can't quite figure out why. One of the most important reasons is that symptoms might be due to a serious, underlying health issue.

Sadly, for many people in Illinois and across the country, this type of situation leads to medical examination, which, in turn, leads to a diagnosis of terminal illness. For those who work or have worked in factories, shipyards, mills or industries, such as construction, railroad or auto mechanics, such diagnoses often involve asbestos injuries.

What you can do to help your injured loved one

Learning that someone you love has an incurable disease is understandably devastating. Every person's reaction to such news is unique, and there is definitely no cookie-cutter version of treatment as to helping a loved one come to terms with such news and living as high a quality of life as possible in the time he or she has left. The following list includes ideas that may help you and your loved one cope:

  • Your loved one's needs will fluctuate on a daily basis. It can help to take some time for quiet conversation, and to ask him or her how you can be of most assistance.
  • A terminally ill patient often has a lot on his or her mind. Issues, such as finances, medical treatment and legal documents, may be occupying your loved one's thoughts.
  • If your family member has not executed an estate plan, this might be something with which you can help. The sooner, the better, because a person must be of sound mind when signing a last will and testament or any other estate planning document.
  • If a doctor has projected that your loved one has six months or less to live, it also warrants a discussion about hospice care and what your loved one's wishes are, regarding treatments or provisions he or she wants or doesn't want to have.
  • Many people use the term "bucket list" to describe things they hope to experience in their lifetime. Helping your loved one create such a list and accomplishing as many items on the list as possible is a wonderful gift you can give to help bring your loved one joy.

As a care provider for a terminally ill loved one, you are likely to experience a roller-coaster of emotion. Some days, you might feel exhausted, worried or even angry. There is no right or wrong way to feel, but it can be helpful to seek outside support or counseling to help you cope. While one of your highest priorities is encouraging and supporting your family member, it is also important to tend to your own emotional and physical health needs.

What about the legal issues?

Sadly, what makes many work-related terminal illness situations so devastating is that employers often could have helped workers avoid injury, especially in situations concerning asbestos exposure. This has led to many class-action lawsuits against negligent employers and companies whose disregard for worker safety has caused irreversible damage.

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