Hospice Care – Is it Right For Your Loved One?
Having a loved one in hospice care can be a painful time. You might not be ready to witness the dying process – it can be hard to watch someone you love lose vitality and vigor. You may be frustrated, not knowing what to do or how to care for him in a meaningful way.
Since the main goal during hospice care hospice care service is to make her as comfortable as possible, there are definite, practical things you can do. Your hospice care team will have specific ideas for your loved one’s medical situation, but in general try to do things that will bring comfort and ease pain.
I have helped care for several aging grandparents in hospice care over the years and have realized that spending time with your loved one is the absolute best way to bring comfort. When you’re at the bedside, try to do things that are very humanizing like hold his hand, brush her hair, offer to read a favorite book aloud. Also bring along a few basic comfort items. Anything that can help provide more comfort and reinforce human dignity will not only help care for and comfort your loved one, but will also provide real help that gifts like flowers cannot.
Wondering what types of comfort items are helpful? A super-soft throw blanket is one example. Find one that is light, so that weak arms and legs won’t be burdened down by a heavy blanket, but is still warm. Especially try to avoid blankets that are rough or scratchy because they can irritate sensitive skin. Hospice patients tend to get chilled easily, so a blanket is a comforting and practical gift.
Lip balm is a must-have. Sometimes fluid intake is limited by the hospice care team, but keeping lips moist with a quality all-natural, organic lip balm will bring so much comfort to a dry mouth. We suggest unscented lip balm, not a fruity flavor, when water and food intake are limited.
A microbead squish pillow is also comforting for a loved one who is confined to bed. The great thing is that squish pillows can help reduce the incidence of painful bed sores. Use squishy pillows to help cushion elbows, heels, hips and other bony protrusions that rub against the sheets to help decrease friction. Microbead squish pillows are one of the best because they are filled with tiny BB sized Styrofoam beads that ‘squish’ and conform easily to lend just the right amount of support.
All natural lotion is also a good comfort item for a hospice patient. Skin tends to become more dry, thin and fragile at the end of life. Keeping skin hydrated with a good quality all natural lotion will help keep your loved one more comfortable.
Bed jackets, zip-front sweatshirts and soft sweaters are also good ideas to help keep warm. Choose pieces that are easy to get on and off, not over-the-head. If IVs are in place, choose jackets that have large arm openings.