24hr Support Line 0800 6300 443
3 August 2021

Coping with a terminal diagnosis

A terminal illness is an illness which cannot be cured and will at some stage cause death within a limited time period.

Terminal Illness

A terminal illness is an illness which cannot be cured and will at some stage cause death within a limited time period.  This time period is difficult to predict and could be a matter of weeks at worst.  Receiving such distressing news can be extremely difficult and can affect people and their families in different ways.

Our welfare teams are there to support people and their families living with a terminal illness.  They can provide a range of support from home visits, financial grants, listening and practical help with money, benefits and debt advice.  They often liaise with healthcare professionals to provide a voice when it’s difficult to speak up.  We can also arrange professional counselling for those who feel this would help.   If you or a family member would like some support or further information of how Racing Welfare can help then please don’t hesitate to get in touch via our 24 hour helpline 0800 6300 443.

Your first reactions

There isn’t a right or wrong way to react when you’re told your illness is terminal as everyone will react differently.   Knowing something is wrong and having this confirmed by your Doctor are two different things and can still be devastating to hear.

With any terminal diagnosis it’s natural to experience a range of emotions from feeling frightened and upset to desperation and anger, whilst some people may refuse to believe the news.  Ensure you give yourself time and space to take in what is happening. Some people may prefer to be alone whilst others will need to spend time with partners, family or friends to help deal with the news.

As hard as it can be, try not to push your emotions aside completely.  If you feel able it can help to express how you feel and allow your emotions to surface – even if that is hard to cope with at first.

Most people will have some or all of these emotions which usually change gradually.  Many people say that the intensity and distress lessens in time. This doesn’t mean that you stop worrying or feeling upset just that the feelings get more bearable. You will most likely be able to think about your situation a little more calmly and plan what you want to do.

Looking at your options

It can be reassuring to find out what support is available and this can be helpful for some people who want to make plans about what they would like to do before they die.

Having some idea about what to expect can help you feel less anxious. You may also want to think about where you want to be at the end of your life.  To find out more about coping with a terminal illness or if you’re caring for someone with a terminal illness you can explore the links below.

NHS – Coping with a terminal illness

Dying Matters

NIDirect.Gov – Caring for someone who is terminally ill

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Racing Welfare’s 24 hour support line enables people to access support and
guidance through digital and telephone options.

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