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A Caregiver’s Acceptance

A Caregiver’s Acceptance

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While palliative caregivers are unsung heroes providing care and comfort during patients ’final moments, they might also find themselves in need of a listening ear.

Mr K was a palliative caregiver at Sengkang Community Hospital, one of the community hospitals under SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH), who struggled to come to terms with his best friend’s declining health.

Despite the signs pointing towards his best friend’s impending passing, Mr K continued to hope that his best friend would recover and lead a normal life once again. In his denial of his best friend’s condition, he refused to listen to the palliative doctors or allow the care team to even mention anything to do with dying or deteriorating.

Staff Nurse Nurul Afida knew, though, that to truly find peace, Mr K must confront his fears and embrace the time he had left with his friend. With unwavering determination, Nurul gently guided him towards acceptance, offering reassurance and understanding every step of the way.

Staff Nurse Nurul Afida

“It is often very challenging to help caregivers to cope with their emotions when they know that their loved ones’ days are numbered, especially when they are not well prepared or are in denial about their condition,” said Nurse Nurul.

The choice of words used and being in a calm state are important tools, according to Nurse Nurul, when approaching the caregivers to inform them that their loved ones will pass on soon.

Frequent communication also plays a key role when it comes to providing support to caregivers. “Motivate them with encouraging words and remind them to have enough rest for them to continue caring for the patients,” advised Nurse Nurul.

Early explanations of what to expect from their loved ones ’health conditions and symptoms allow caregivers to be mentally prepared. An explanation of the pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of the patients ’symptoms further provides assurance to caregivers about the comfort of their loved ones. 

“Frequent check-ins with caregivers on their coping and psychosocial support are provided by our care team during their caregiving journey,” said Deputy Director of SCH Supportive & Palliative Care Services, Dr Ami Nagashima.

Dr Amy Nagashima

Together with the care team, Nurse Nurul moved Mr K’s best friend to a single room where they could share quiet moments together. And when the time finally came for his best friend to embark on his final journey, it was a moment of profound tranquilly. In the quiet shared space, surrounded by love and understanding, Mr K finally found the courage to say goodbye to his best friend.

SUPPORT FOR CAREGIVERS

Support from the healthcare team means a lot to caregivers, and at SCH, the multi-disciplinary teams consisting of doctors, allied health professionals, and nurses, work together to provide care to patients and support their caregivers.

Furthermore, the care teams also provide grief and bereavement support to caregivers after their loved ones have passed on by checking in on them with a phone call, and by inviting them to SCH’s Memorial Service.

During the Memorial Service, caregivers will gather and share their palliative caregiving experiences as a form of support for one another. In this way, they are able to work through their own grief and bereavement and continue on their journey to come to terms with their loss.

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