It goes without saying: Providing hospice care for a loved one requires courage, patience and know-how. The dying person’s body is beginning to change and shut down. As such, most caregivers understand that making their loved one comfortable during this time is the most important aspect of caregiving. If you’re faced with this task, here are four simple things you can do to make this time of transition more comfortable for your friend or family member in hospice.
Embrace the Quiet
As people move through the process of dying, their senses often become enhanced. Loud sounds become louder for someone in hospice. If possible turn off electronics, like the radio or TV, and ask visitors to silence their phones and to speak quietly.
Additionally, those faced with death must come to terms with their unfinished business. They may sit in silence or even appear to be sleeping, but often they’re actually taking care of their “inner work.” They’re trying to let go of their attachment to their lives and to process unfinished business. Encouraging quiet allows them to face these issues in peace.
Rearrange the Area
It probably goes without saying that people become weak as they’re dying. This makes getting around their rooms or their home more hazardous. One simple thing you can do is to rearrange the furniture so that your loved one has freedom of movement. Keeping the proper care equipment from a company, like Joerns Healthcare, also helps, particularly if your love one requires a specialized hospital bed, wheelchair, or walker.
Provide a Calm, Gentle Touch
Sometimes, a person’s skin becomes more sensitive when they’re in hospice. Some patients like gentle massage or to have their hands held. However, it’s best to ask. Dying is a process of letting go. As your loved one begins to let go of life, he or she may not want to be touched because it reminds them of the physical life he or she is letting go of.
Help With Dry Mouth
Often, a hospice patient will lose his or her appetite and won’t want to eat or drink. However, dry mouth can still be an issue. Keeping some lip balm on hand keeps the lips moist. Drops of water can be administered via a toothpaste swab. This is particularly helpful if the hospice patient is unconscious.
It can be a daunting thought to bring a loved one into your home for hospice care. It’s such a significant time in both of your lives, and for the hospice patient especially, having the right kind of TLC makes this difficult time a bit easier. The tips on this list can help you help your loved one during this time of transition.