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Helping your Terminally-Ill Loved One Cope with Anxiety

Helping your Terminally-Ill Loved One Cope with Anxiety

Anxiety in patients nearing death is a common occurrence. This can be caused by a patient’s reaction to shortness of breath, severe pain or a negative thought. Some terminally-ill patients may experience mild anxiety; however, others experience panic attacks. And no matter what’s causing the anxiety, it is imperative to treat it right away.

How to Know if your Terminally-Ill Loved One is Experiencing Anxiety

People’s reaction to anxiety differs. While some patients may be able to tell their doctor or loved ones about their feeling, others simply cannot. So caregivers and loved ones must learn to recognize anxiety to give their patient the right intervention. Anxiety has different manifestations which can be either mild or severe.

  • Physical symptoms. A patient with anxiety may have trouble sleeping and look restless. His palpitations or heart rate may increase and he tends to breathe faster than normal. In severe cases of anxiety, she may be vomiting and have chest pains and dilating pupil. Other physical symptoms of anxiety include abdominal pain, trembling and dry mouth.

  • Cognitive Symptoms. A patient with anxiety has trouble concentrating and easily gets distracted. And severe anxiety can result in a disconnected state.

  • Behavioral or emotional symptoms. The terminally-ill patient may be irritable and short-tempered. He may be expressing feelings of uneasiness or worry. In serious cases, the patient may be crying uncontrollably, screaming and yelling.

How to Treat Anxiety in Terminally Ill Patients

In case your loved one is showing signs of anxiety, try to calm him down first. In some cases, the anxiety level can be reduced through distraction. Discuss something interesting for him like the latest celebrity gossip or ball game. Get his attention and be reassuring.

Whether it was just a short episode of anxiety or an ongoing scenario, call the treating physician so that you can report the symptoms and get important medical advice. In case your ill loved one is in hospice care in Central Ave Riverside California, call the hospice agency and report the anxiety symptoms. The agency may send a hospice doctor or nurse to assess your loved one’s condition.

The majority of hospice agencies provide at-home patients an emergency medication kit that usually contains a medication for treating anxiety. Listen to the hospice nurse or doctor to know how to administer the medication properly.

The Role of Palliative Care

Palliative care is comfort care offered to a terminally-ill patient. Experts say that it is normal for people who are sick to sometimes feel restless, anxious, afraid or uneasy. Comfort care helps them cope with such feelings. As death approaches, the symptoms of the patient may require more aggressive palliation. Comfort measures are expected to intensify along with the support of the family to the dying patient. Ambercity Hospice helps the patient in managing pain, shortness of breath and negative thoughts that all trigger anxiety.

We offer palliative and hospice care to terminally-ill patients in the comfort of their homes. However, if our hospice team determines that your loved one needs inpatient care, we will make the arrangement for his stay. Please click to learn more about our services or call (951) 686-8100.


Blogs, content and other media uploaded online are for informational purposes only. Contents on this website should not be considered medical advice. Readers are strongly encouraged to visit their physician for health-related issues.

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The team of Ambercity Hospice is committed to providing reliable, consistent, compassionate care, and complete services in the comfort of the client's home.

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3590 Central Ave., Suite 207
Riverside, California 92506-2708

Phone: (951) 686-8100
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