|Most patients diagnosed with a terminal illness live with the implications and endure the associated symptoms for months to years before dying.Many studies have shown that life with a terminal illness is fraught with the presence of bio-psycho-socio-spiritual symptoms.
In one study of patients with cancer, inpatients averaged 12.5 symptoms, while outpatients averaged 9.7 symptoms (Portenoy).
Social Implications of Living with Chronic Illnesses
As illnesses progresses, not only do patients have to endure many distressing symptoms, they also experience diminished functionality and social isolation. Most become dependent on care provided by close family members. Many patients feel that they are burdening their loved ones and this leads to secondary feelings of depression, anxiety and grief.
Caregivers in turn experience increased stress secondary to provision of care and this then results in physical exhaustion, care-giver stress, depression, anger, and social isolation.