NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults - page 97

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults
Version 2013
Part 9: Thinking about the unthinkable
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by preparing something special that they can leave
behind for their loved ones, such as:
Organizing and labeling family photos,
Putting together a family tree,
Writing letters to loved ones,
Giving meaningful objects to people they care about,
Gathering favorite recipes into a cookbook.
These kinds of activities are particularly helpful if you
have young children. Creating a video diary or journal will
allow you to share meaningful memories, experiences,
and messages with your child even if you cannot
physically be there.
Being this sick made me realize that too
many of us wait forever to start our
lives. So I took a deep breath and moved
forward . . . For what it’s worth, and
it’s worth a lot, I’ve had two great years
of really living.”
Stephanie, diagnosed with breast cancer at 30,
died at 33
This can also be a time to mend fences and work through
painful emotions associated with leaving the people you
love behind. If your treatment center doesn’t have an
end-of-life program, ask about a referral to a counselor
with experience in end-of-life issues or to a support group
for patients who are dealing with incurable illnesses.
Having a safe place to vent your fear, guilt, grief,
sadness, and just plain anger will make it easier to talk
about these issues with family and friends.
Hospice care
Hospice (from the Latin for “guesthouse”) is a type
of care designed to provide medical, psychological,
social, and spiritual support to terminally ill patients
and the people who love them. The goal is comfort,
not cure. Many insurance plans will only cover hospice
services if your doctor has said that your life expectancy
is 6 months or less and that you will not be receiving
treatment designed to cure cancer. Of note, some forms
of chemotherapy may still be covered if they are being
prescribed to relieve pain or symptoms. Be sure to talk
with your doctor and your insurance company to clarify
these issues before making your decision.
Hospice care is all about your quality of life. Services can
be provided in your home, a hospice facility, or even in
the hospital. A major goal is to keep you pain-free and
make sure that you can leave this world comfortably and
with dignity. Hospice doctors, nurses, social workers, and
chaplains are experts in helping patients work through
the spiritual and emotional challenges of coping with the
end of life.
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