What might my loved one with a terminal illness be going through?

David Kuhl
Hospice & Palliative Medicine
In interviews with people diagnosed with terminal illness, their descriptions of their experiences all seemed to focus around nine concerns or themes:
  • their changing perceptions of time, what it means and how to
  • spend it
  • the suffering that resulted from the experience of hearing their
  • terminal diagnosis for the first time and the need to communicate effectively with health care professionals
  • physical pain, its reality and its effect on who they were
  • the importance of being touched and being in touch
  • the natural process of reviewing one’s life (looking back) once one understands that dying is a reality
  • speaking and hearing truth
  • longing to belong, that is, to understand who they were, in the past with regard to their original families, as well as in the present with regard to their chosen (adult) family
  • asking the question "Who am I?" in the search to know who they were in the present, free of the expectations of others
  • experiencing transcendence -- meaning, value, God, spirituality, a higher being greater than oneself
What Dying People Want: Practical Wisdom For The End Of Life

More About this Book

What Dying People Want: Practical Wisdom For The End Of Life

Facing death results in more fear and anxiety than any other human experience. Though much has been done to address the physical pain suffered by those with a terminal illness, Western medicine has...

Continue Learning about Healthcare Basics

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.