Palliative care professionals are often in touch with severely ill hospice patients who are near death or facing various health complications. This can make them conscious of their own mortality and difficult experiences throughout life and develop anxiety and unease regarding providing care to these patients. Professionals with strong feelings of anxiety regarding death may hesitate or feel apprehensive about providing care for patients near the end of their life.
Providing palliative care is emotional work because the professionals’ emotions often become involved when caring for their patients. It requires the professionals to utilize their skills to deal with the patient as well as their family and assist them with processing emotions throughout the course of the treatment. To manage feelings of anxiety and apprehension better, professionals can benefit from the following methods:
Palliative care professionals, especially nurses, should be taught strategies to discuss complex situations and death with the patient and family. This can help the professional balance their anxiety and emotional involvement with the patient and provide quality care without any hurdles.
With self-care activities and plans, medical professionals in palliative care can find ways to re-center their focus with self-awareness and self-soothing techniques. Although it might be a simple step, this can help them cope with their daily routine of working with severely and chronically ill patients.
Along with professional practice supervision, palliative care nurses and other medical experts must have reflective practice sessions to manage their anxiety and process emotions healthily. Through these sessions, they can develop emotional intelligence, strengthen their ego, build resilience, and improve skills for managing practical and emotional challenges.
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