A terminal illness is one that is untreatable or incurable, which means that a patient is often given a life expectancy of about six months. In some cases, a disease is also considered terminal when its symptoms are too advanced to respond to treatment.

Cases of life-threatening illnesses are very common in the United States, with a study conducted by the Pew Research Center finding that about 40 percent of Americans are familiar with either a relative or friend who has suffered or is battling a life-threatening disease. Knowing this, keep reading as we explore five major steps you can take to manage the symptoms of a terminal illness at home.

1. Get in touch with a viatical settlement company.

A viatical settlement allows a life insurance policyholder to sell their policy to a third-party investor or viatical settlement broker for a lump sum cash payout. After this, the third party buyer takes over the payment of future life insurance premiums instead of the life insurance policyholder and becomes the beneficiary of the death benefit after the death of the insured.

Viatical settlements can be beneficial to patients with a terminal illness, those at the end of their lives, and those unable to keep up with payments on their insurance premiums. Because viatical settlements pay more than traditional life insurance settlements, the money earned from the lump sum cash payout can help these individuals find much needed financial assistance and financial freedom, consequently improving their quality of life.

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In most cases, the payout from the sale of a life insurance policy can go towards seeking experimental medical treatments that aren’t typically covered by insurance companies, paying for palliative care, paying medical bills, or even towards substituting a loss of income due to their inability to work—to mention a few.

Even though the viatical settlement industry has been around for a while, it can feel daunting to venture into, especially if you’re only just learning about it. For this reason, seasoned viatical settlement providers like American Life Fund make it their goal to help interested terminal patients and their loved ones through the viatical settlement process. Their trained agents will walk you through your or your loved ones’ eligibility for a viatical settlement from American Life Fund.

In addition to this, they will help you understand your life insurance policy’s worth, while also ensuring you receive the best offer on your settlement. Further to this, they are a licensed viatical settlement provider, which means that they will help you put all the relevant paperwork together such as medical records and financial statements, in adherence to the specified life settlement regulations. In this way, you can trust that a licensed provider will help your loved one ease the financial burden often tied to a terminal illness diagnosis.

2. Explore complementary and alternative treatment therapies.

A terminal illness may also result in occasional or persistent chronic pain. To counter this, your doctor may recommend complementary approaches to conventional medical treatment such as acupuncture, massage therapy, relaxation techniques, chiropractic, and herbal supplements to alleviate some of this pain. These alternative therapies are provided at home, in hospice care, and at medical day spas at a reduced cost.

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Besides the complementary therapies listed above, many small independent studies have started exploring the benefits of CBD in the treatment of chronic pain. One study found that when inhaled through smoking or vaporizing, marijuana can relieve the feeling of nausea cancer patients report feeling after a round of chemotherapy treatment. Another study also found CBD to be a helpful treatment option for neuropathic pain as felt in progressive nerve disease.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active compound found in the cannabis plant. THC is another compound found in the cannabis plant and the most well known due to the psychoactive effect it elicits in the user. While both cannabinoids (by-products of the cannabis plant) have medicinal benefits, CBD is often used in medical treatments because of its nonpsychoactive properties.

CBD can is consumed in a variety of ways. Some of these options include:

  • Edibles—one way to use CBD products is by consuming CBD-infused candy such as gummies or chocolates.
  • Inhalation—smoking hemp products like CBD hemp cigarettes provides fast-acting relief from chronic pain or depression.
  • Topicals—a CBD topical is a salve, lotion, or cream infused with CBD. It is applied directly to the skin and offers relief from skin conditions and aches and pain associated with chronic pain from a terminal illness. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, a CBD infused topical can help alleviate the inflammation and pain linked to arthritis.

3. Seek palliative patient care.

Receiving a diagnosis for a life-threatening illness is tragic news that no one should have to bear. Because of this, the patient and their family may go through a series of emotions while trying to process this news. A study by the Baylor University Medical Center found that a large number of terminal patients present symptoms of depression.

An additional report also found that an estimated 20% of terminal patients suffer from chronic depression. Palliative care should be provided to terminal patients to account for the general well-being of their mental, emotional, physical, and emotional health.

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Palliative care is a form of family and patient-centered care that improves the patient’s quality of life by anticipating and preventing suffering. It is recommended soon after a terminal diagnosis (a life expectancy of not more than six months) and can be provided in the home, hospice, or hospital setting. It is a collaborative treatment approach facilitated by medical practitioners and therapists who specialize in dealing with patients with a life-threatening illness.

To find palliative care, start by asking your doctor for referrals to palliative care providers in your area. Online resources like the Center to Advance Palliative Care, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and Get Palliative Care websites can offer a wellspring of databases for you to look through.

4. Seek additional medical care.

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Surgery and other invasive procedures are not often recommended by healthcare providers to terminal patients. However, in instances where the patient reports severe lower back pain, neck pain, for instance, a spine specialist or orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgery to increase body function and offer pain relief. To add to this, surgery can offer relief to specific pain symptoms. For instance, an orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgery to remedy a hip bone fracture in a patient with late-stage cancer. Further to this, Dr. Larocca, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in neck, back, and spine care in Lawrenceville, NJ adds that “The decision to have surgery should involve the opinion of your health care providers namely your physical therapist, chiropractor, or pain management specialist.”

5. Ask your doctor for pain management medication.

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Pain management is a key factor in palliative care. The first step to help you manage your pain symptoms will involve your doctor conducting a thorough pain assessment test to prescribe an effective course of treatment. The chronic pain associated with a life-threatening diagnosis should always be attended to immediately as a delay in seeking medical relief could allow the pain to grow worse. Always take your prescription medications as recommended by your doctor.