Patients living with a terminal illness, and those who care for them, are confronted with a profound and difficult situation. Questions about coping, living fruitful days, interacting with loved ones, and preparing for the inevitable will certainly arise. In this guide we'll help answer these questions by connecting you to advice and information from experts around the Web.
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If you're suffering, there are ways to manage the painful symptoms of your illness. Although much of the information on end-of-life pain focuses on cancers, it's often applicable to other illnesses. The Web sites in this section offer resources for coping with and reducing your suffering.
- On any respectable health Web site you'll find a disclaimer reading something like this: "the information here is meant as a complement to, but not a substitute for, your doctor's advice." And although this reads like a warning, it's also a suggestion: use the information you find to become an active participant in the decisions relating to your healthcare.
- Consider looking at Web sites that offer alternative or holistic methods of pain control. While medications will likely be necessary to manage your pain, other methods such as relaxation techniques may help you gain better control.
The American Pain Foundation
's "Pain Information Library" has links to information for various pain conditions, medications, complementary and alternative medicine, pain facts and figures, and more. The site also offers a "Pain Resource Locator
" that enables people with pain, or their family and caregivers, to find local help.
The National Cancer Institute
has a section called "Understanding Cancer Pain." It points out that only you know how much pain you are experiencing, and explains how to communicate and measure it. The links along the left can help you navigate through the contents of the article.
offers this article on alternative pain control. It reviews relaxation techniques, biofeedback, imagery, massage, and more.
, published by Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, examines why it's important to treat pain, the different approaches to cancer pain relief, and a variety of methods used in pain treatment, including alternative and surgical therapies.
The World Health Organization
offers printable booklets for healthcare professionals that contain a lot of useful information for caregivers as well. This particular booklet is on palliative care and pain control for adolescents and adults with HIV and AIDS. This printout of chapter 8 of the book Pocket book of hospital care for children: Guidelines for the management of common illnesses with limited resources has palliative care and pain control information for children, starting on page 221
. Cancer Pain Release
, also for professionals but interesting reading for caregivers as well, is available in 31 languages.
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