How to Help a Family Member Struggling with a Serious Illness

A diagnosis is just the beginning when it comes to long-term treatment of a serious illness. At first, the patient and family members will feel overwhelmed by information that they can’t fully comprehend. The doctor likely explained the course of treatment in medical terms, but it lacked instruction on how to emotionally and physically cope with the impending changes to daily life. No matter the injury or illness, the treatment, recovery, and care options should aim to support the patient in all aspects of their life.

Palliative Care

Not everyone is familiar with something like palliative care minneapolis mn, so here is a simple definition. This type of care works with individuals with serious illnesses and injuries to provide pain management support. This form of care also aims to improve life quality for patients despite the health concerns they face. It is different from hospice services though commonly confused. Families should work with their medical providers to create a palliative care plan and have professionals help in the process.

Emotional Support

Dealing with a significant medical problem can feel alienating, lonely, and depressing. Suddenly a person’s life no longer feels in their control. That is why emotional support is just as important and medical support. Most importantly staying in contact by visits, phone, e-mail, and text are important. Family members and friends often do not know what the right thing to say is, but any encouragement helps and can brighten their spirits. Hearing a loved one say that they are there for you no matter what is extremely uplifting.

Create a Support System Schedule

When a person is ill or injured there are many things that they cannot do on their own, yet still, need to be completed. Gather family and willing close friends to create a schedule to help out the patient. This way the weight of assistance doesn’t fall squarely on one person, the patient gets many visitors and doesn’t feel like a burden. These chores need completed whether the patient is cared for at home, hospital, or another facility. Here are a few of the common areas that patients need assistance.

  • Paying bills
  • Maintaining the lawn
  • Taking out the trash
  • Household cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Rides to appointments
  • Medication pickup/ reminders


When a loved one needs family more than ever it is overwhelming and often a drastic change. Taking the time to care for personal health, wellbeing, and home life will help the caregiver. When a person relentless gives and doesn’t recharge it taxes them to the point they cannot help as much, and the patient suffers.

A sick or injured loved one has experienced a drastic change. They now need assistance in many ways from their family. Palliative care, emotional support, help at home, and caregiver self-care are all part of the helping process. Simply being there for an ailing family member means the world to them.