What is Comfort Care for the Dying?

Posted on March 23, 2020 by Conner-Bowman Funeral Home under cremation
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Before cremation as part of the cremation services offered in Wirtz, VA, your loved one may get to the place where treatment of their condition no longer offers them any benefit or they no longer want life-prolonging treatment for their condition. What they need now is a better quality of life at the end of their lives.

cremation services offered in Wirtz, VA

Comfort care differs from other types of medical care in that it doesn’t aggressively treat diseases or illnesses nor does it involve curing diseases or illnesses. What it does instead is to ease the effects of the uncomfortable symptoms that accompany diseases or illnesses as they progress toward death.

Patients can receive comfort care in just about any setting. They may be in a nursing home, an assisted living facility, a hospital or at home. Hospice care can be administered in any of these settings with the goal of keeping patients as comfortable as possible as they reach the end of life.

Medical professionals typically turn to comfort care for patients for whom no benefit can be derived from further medical treatment. Patients generally opt for comfort care when they no longer want life-prolonging treatment – which can be very hard on the body as it gets weaker and frailer – for their illnesses.

While comfort care usually shortens the time patients have to live, it ensures that they will have the worst of the pain and suffering of their illnesses eliminated in a measured way that increases as the effects get worse. This gives patients the opportunity to focus on what matters to most people at the end of their lives: spending time with loved ones, healing or restoring relationships that may be strained or broken, and spending time in spiritual reflection.

Comfort care can cover a wide range of medical symptoms that many people experience as their illnesses progress. Patients who have cancer, organ failure, heart disease, pulmonary disease, and various types of dementia are those most often given comfort care as the end of their lives draws near.

Comfort care can address symptoms like pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and respiratory issues, as well as anxiety and sleeplessness.

It may surprise people to know that cancer patients can be given a type of radiation therapy, known as palliative radiation therapy, as part of comfort care. Its goal is not to treat the cancer, but instead to relieve the symptoms that are associated with inoperable tumors. This type of therapy can shrink the tumors, easing pressure and pain, and it can ease bleeding, throat obstructions, and compressions of the spinal cord.

Many patients will experience restlessness and anxiety as their diseases progress and they draw closer to death. Anti-anxiety medication will be administered as part of comfort care to ensure that the patients can rest comfortably.

As death approaches, comfort care levels increase. While mild pain medications may be given in the earliest stages of comfort care, in the later stages, much stronger pain medications, like morphine, will be administered. These are scheduled doses that have shorter time intervals between them as death gets closer. They ensure that patients have the highest level of pain management until they die.

Additional measures included in comfort care are keeping the mouth moist in the last few days of death. Swabs that can be moistened can be rubbed inside the patient’s mouth to alleviate dryness and make them more comfortable.

For information about cremation services in Wirtz, VA, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lynch Conner-Bowman Funeral Home can assist you. You can visit our funeral home at 140 Floyd Ave., Rocky Mount, VA, 24151, or you can call us today at (540) 483-5533.

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