Patient and Caregiver Stress Relievers

When a family member or a dear friend is diagnosed with a terminal illness and hospice has been recommended, stress levels tend to rise. Before you allow stress to take over the time you and your loved ones have left together, remember staying positive is not only important for the patient, but can be equally as important for those involved in providing care to a loved one.

Here are some ways to keep things upbeat and positive at a time when finding the positive in life can be difficult. Trust me, leaving the stress at the door is best for everyone and can help in the healing processes for loved ones in the future.

  • Art therapy – Art therapy can help individuals explore their emotions through the use of various art mediums. It provides an outlet for creative, non-verbal expression of their feelings.
  • Aromatherapy can provide many benefits to patients and family members; some essential oils may help alleviate nausea or fatigue, while others may help with anxiety and depression.
  • Guided imagery, meditation, or other relaxation techniques can help patients and family members reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Music therapy – Music can be soothing, relaxing, nurturing, energizing, and comforting. It may provide the following benefits:
    • Promote relaxation
    • Strengthen family bonds
    • Trigger memories or initiate reflection on one’s life
    • Improve alertness
    • Reduce one’s perception of pain or nausea
    • Create joyful experiences

My mother’s hospice nurses advised that as death nears, it is normal for your loved one to experience anxiety. It is helpful to reassure your loved one that you are there in support, and that although you will miss him or her, it is ok to let go. Receiving permission from loved ones can relieve distress for the patient.

Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare has a fantastic hospice team available to help you and your loved ones with questions on alleviating stress and anxiety when you are not sure how to move forward. Kenya George at Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare can be reached at 614-705-0892 or email her at She will be able to assist you with any questions or concerns you have.

Aromatherapy in Palliative Care

The use of essential oils can be relaxing and soothing. Essential oils are primarily used in palliative care settings and can be helpful when facing the difficult task of caring for patients with terminal illnesses. Aromatherapy can improve one’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Caring for a terminally ill loved one at home or in a facility can sometimes be stressful, particularly if the patient is someone close to you, no matter the age. The care itself is physically demanding: lifting, turning and running around all take their toll on the caregiver’s body. The emotional stress involved with caring for a terminally ill loved one and working with a team of professionals and other caregivers can also be exhausting and difficult.

The use of essential oils to promote well-being and ease discomfort has been used for centuries and has a growing base of research and support in modern healthcare. More and more health care providers and their patients are recognizing the value of aromatherapy, as well as other complimentary therapies as an adjunct to allopathic medicine to treat serious medical conditions. Aromatherapy and the array of benefits it provides to patients, especially those in palliative care, is being recognized and is rapidly growing in use.

Health issues such, as nausea, fatigue, anxiety and depression are just a few of the challenges and symptoms people with chronic or life-threatening illnesses may experience in the hands of a skilled professional or a caregiver. Aromatherapy can ease discomfort and improve well-being physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for patients and their loved ones. One of the best ways to use essential oils is in a diffuser, preferably a cold air one, and one that operates relatively quietly. Everyone will enjoy the benefits – the patient, staff, support workers and visitors alike.

The extraction of the oils from aromatic plants has been known to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and analgesic effects. Clinical trials on aromatherapy primarily investigated for the treatment of stress and anxiety in patients with a critical illness. The studies have shown a positive influence on the limbic system and thus emotional pathways.

The staff at Hospice at Methodist ElderCare is available to provide information on Aromatherapy and its benefits for your loved one while in palliative care. They can also suggest ways it might help you relax during what is usually a very stressful time for all. Call Kenya George at Hospice at Methodist ElderCare 614-451-6700 or email her at for more information.

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