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Lighting the Path Through the Final Days of Life

by Deborah Sigrist, BSN, RN, CHPN

We are honored to be able to provide this 32-page booklet, which is:

  • A supportive and educational guide families and other caregivers rely on
  • Used as a resource by families cared for by our hospice program is now being made available to hospices and healthcare professionals for just $5 (postage included)

Order Booklet for Just $5

About the Author

Deborah Sigrist has been a hospice nurse in the inpatient hospice facility setting since 1989. Deborah gives presentations on the dying process, teaches end-of-life care to hospice workers, and facilitates bereavement support groups. She is certified in hospice and palliative nursing.

Excerpt from the Booklet

Terminal Illness

Your loved one probably has a progressive disease, and by nature, it has been progressing over time. Some examples are cancer, heart or lung disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. It may have been progressing slowly over months, years or decades. Other times, it progresses very rapidly and is full-blown at the time of diagnosis.

Imagine a winding path leading to an unknown land. The path begins with the diagnosis of a potentially life-threatening disease. It is jolting to begin this journey as one accommodates, or makes room for, this disruption in life. At first, the goal may be to cure. If that isn’t possible, one hopes for a long life and one of good quality. Medical caregivers aim to manage the disease with a strong offense and defense. The offense often includes curative treatment, an arsenal of medications, and frequent lab work and tests. The defensive strategy aims to strengthen the body and develop a positive attitude of well-being. To these ends, there is an emphasis on nutrition, monitoring food intake, encouraging physical activity and building coping skills. When a disease progresses to end stage, a physician might recommend stopping aggressive treatment. Sometimes this is initiated by the patient saying to the doctor, “I’m weary of what it takes to keep fighting this. What are my options?”

However, when one arrives at this point, and hospice care is chosen, aggressive treatment aimed at the disease will be refocused on symptoms that interfere with comfort and quality of life. Comfort care is moved to the top of the priority list. All treatments and interventions are measured by how well they provide physical, emotional and spiritual comfort. Hospice includes the family of the terminally ill person in its care.

This publication is endorsed by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.