Families that are dealing with the terminal illness of a loved one can feel very isolated. The profound sadness they feel is not understood by many, and palliative care is often used throughout the course of the illness. Palliative care is a special type of care that works in conjunction with normal medical treatment of serious or terminal illnesses like cancer, ALS, or Alzheimer’s Disease.
Hospice is a type of palliative care focusing on the end of life comfort of those that are succumbing to their illness. Dr. Simran Malhotra is a palliative care specialist who spoke with us recently about her journey and how CircleIt is a technology that can help those in hospice.
How Palliative Care is Different From Hospice or Other Medical Fields
Palliative care and hospice are often spoken about as if they are the same thing. Hospice, however, is a type of palliative care, specifically focused on the end of life. Other palliative care procedures occur throughout earlier stages of a disease.
Some patients receive specific medical treatments to help make them more comfortable during their treatment. Others receive spiritual or psychological care. Many will be helped with making nutritional changes or even be given relaxation techniques.
“During my internal medicine residency, I spent time in the ICU and I just felt so much for the patients and their families because I felt like they didn’t get enough time and attention from the medical team.”
Even the support services offered to the family of those undergoing treatment falls under the palliative care umbrella. With so much that goes into this critical service, Dr. Malhotra has a unique perspective on the feelings of those suffering and dying from terminal illnesses.
What Hospice Patients Regret
Dr. Malhotra spoke at length about what happens during the palliative care process and her experiences in caring for those at the end of their lives. One thing she noted was that most regret that they hadn’t spent enough time with their loved ones.
“I’ve had so many patients share that specific regret of ‘I wish I didn’t lose 10 years or whatever of talking to my daughter or my son over whatever the issue was at the time.’”
Many reasons can cause us to lose time with those we care about. A trivial disagreement can lead to family not speaking to one another for years and many of us spend so much time working that we neglect family time. Dr. Malhotra observed that this is a common regret among her patients.
While other regrets may exist surrounding ambitions or passions the patient hadn’t pursued for themselves, Dr. Malhotra indicated that the biggest regrets and most common are those that involve not spending enough time with their loved ones.
What Hospice Patients Want To Do
Overwhelmingly, hospice patients, when able to, want to get messages out to loved ones, remind their family and friends that they love them, and do “legacy work”. What is legacy work? Dr. Malhotra talks about some of the activities that hospice patients perform, such as scrapbooking, journaling, or letter writing.
Sadly, many become too physically weak to complete these tasks, which leaves them incomplete. The introduction of CircleIt, says Dr. Malhotra, can help these patients leave recorded messages for their loved ones.
“Everyone has their phones. It is much easier with technology to simply press or swipe to send these precious memories to their loved ones for the future.”
Palliative care options are not usually a focus of technology, but CircleIt has built-in features that can assist in many of the ways hospice patients need. Aside from being able to leave messages for their loved ones, hospice patients can also build their scrapbooks within the gallery of their CircleIt profile and can share these with their families and friends.
By giving those in their final stages of life more options, CircleIt has developed a way for everyone, no matter what their condition, to preserve their legacy for future generations.