It is always important to think about how you want information to be shared with your loved one, yourself, and other family (as you define “family”) and friends. For example, do you want the doctor to talk about your loved one’s condition with both of you in the same room, or would you want the conversation to be held in another place? Who do you want to be with you for those conversations, if anyone? How are decisions made for and with your loved one and how are they shared with your medical team? Does your loved one want pain medications that might make their thinking less clear while controlling their pain, or would they prefer to have a lower dose? Be sure to talk openly and clearly with your medical team about what is important to you and your loved one so they have the best information to care for your loved one according to your wishes.
The room in which your loved one is being cared for is also an important thing to consider. How do you want it to be? Is it important that it to be as peaceful and calm as possible within the medical care your loved one is being provided? Is quiet important, or would your loved on prefer music and their loved ones around them? Letting the health care team know your preferences and needs will lead to talking about what is possible within the medical care that your loved one needs while respecting your wishes for the room.
Rituals and Symbols
It can often be important for persons and family caregivers to have rituals from their religious or cultural tradition to be provided for their loved ones. This is another thing to talk with your medical care team about. For example, is it important that your priest come to provide sacramental care to your loved one? If the Sacrament of Communion is or was important to your loved one and he/she has difficulty in swallowing, talk with your health care team who will be able to assist in alternatives. Many persons also want certain religious symbols to be present, either in the room or worn by your loved one, such as a rosary. If this is important to you, talk with your health care team as it can usually be arranged for that to occur even when your loved one is receiving medical care.
Health care settings often have a chaplain on staff that can help you in ensuring that your cultural and religious beliefs are honored and accommodated. Professional health care chaplains are counselors; they are trained to care for all persons, and do not impose their beliefs on patients or families. They can also help you in notifying your parish or priest if you need assistance. We also invite you to connect with a Counselor, free of charge, through our site. Chat with a Counselor.