A seminar on understanding the End-of-Life Care was held on April 24, 2016 at the Blacktown Library Function Centre, under the auspices of the Timek Iti La Union Association. The speaker was Remedios Alvarez-Solarte, MSN, RN, NP, Professor Emeritus of Nursing from Michigan, USA. She is a multi-awarded Filipino-American, who is a Founding Member of the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) and an inducted member of the Far Eastern University Institute of Nursing, Hall of Fame.
She emphasized that death statistics worldwide showed that the two most common causes of death are coronary artery disease and stroke/ cerebrovascular diseases. Illness/dying trajectories were discussed including the disparity between the way people die and the way they want to die as well as patient/family perspective. Most adults prefer to be cared for at home if terminally ill and majority would be interested in a comprehensive program of end-of-life care such as a palliative care unit or a nursing home.
Quality of life dimensions encompass the physical, psychological, social and spiritual dimensions of a person. Physical includes functional ability, strength and fatigue, sleep and rest, nausea, constipation and pain.
Psychological dimensions include anxiety, depression, enjoyment, leisure, pain, distress, happiness, fear, cognition and attention. Social dimensions are the financial burden, care giver burden, roles and relationships, affection/sexual function and appearance. Spiritual includes hope, suffering, meaning of pain, religiosity and transcendence.
The dying experience impacts all dimensions. It can differ from person to person and can only be defined by the patient based on their own life experiences.
She ended the seminar with five important tasks for us to do and say to a dying person: 1) Please forgive me; 2) I forgive you; 3) I love you; 4) Thank you; 5) Goodbye.
by Dr. Cora A. Francisco, President, TILAUNA