Tiredness and fatigue
Most people with a terminal illness feel extreme or constant tiredness (fatigue). Try to pace yourself and save your energy for the activities that are most important to you.
Fatigue may affect your ability to think clearly and make decisions. This can be frustrating, particularly if you are trying to put your affairs in order. You may want to deal with these practical concerns at a time of day when you have more energy.
While some people sleep a lot at the end of life, others find it hard to sleep, which can make fatigue worse. If you’re having trouble sleeping, it may be because of anxiety, pain, a side effect of a medicine you are taking or a change in your sleep-wake cycle. Let your palliative care team know, as they may be able to adjust your medicines or offer another medicine to help you sleep.
They may also suggest complementary therapies such as meditation and relaxation. Improving the quality of your sleep will improve the quality of your waking hours.
The biggest side effect of the medication he started last year has been fatigue. He feels like he could sleep forever.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Megan Ritchie, Staff Specialist Palliative Medicine, Palliative Care Service, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW; Gabrielle Asprey, Cancer Support Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Rosemary Cavanough, Consumer; Louise Durham, Nurse Practitioner, Metro South Palliative Care Service, QLD; Tracey Gardner, Senior Psychologist, Cancer Counselling Service, Cancer Council Queensland; Karen Hall, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Linda Nolte, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia, VIC; Rowena Robinson, Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia, ACT; Helena Rodi, Program Manager, Advance Care Planning Australia, VIC.
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