C.A.R.E.S.: A Tool for the Care of the Dying

Bonnie Freeman, RN, DNP, ANP, ACHPN, Compassionate Person-Centered Care for the Dying

Emotional Support

Providing emotional, spiritual, psychosocial and cultural support to the patient and family allows us to care for the soul. This is the very foundation of caring for the dying. It is important to know your resources:

  • Notify supportive care medicine team members for assistance.
    • Be specific if resources are for patient, staff, or both.
  • Always work to retain the patient’s dignity and feelings of value.
  • Remember every family is unique and grieves differently.
  • Good communication is essential:
    • Insure communication exists with the family and all disciplines.
    • Take your cues from the family. Do not assume you know what they are thinking or feeling.
    • Clarify how much the family wants to know.
    • Clarify goals of care.
    • Clarify privacy needs.
  • Just be with patient and family and sit in silence.
  • Work with family to provide favorite activities, smells, sounds, etc.
  • Support rituals and assist with obtaining desired clergy or equipment.