- Create a calming environment, including soft lighting, comfortable bedding, and familiar objects.
- Ensure comfort through a comfortable bed or chair, pillows, cushions, and blankets to prevent pressure sores.
- Manage hygiene through regular bathing/sponge baths, changing bed linens, wearing clean clothes, and using incontinence pads.
- Provide emotional support through conversation, listening to concerns and fears, and helping them feel comfortable expressing emotion.
- Consider equipment needs like hospital beds, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, and bedside commodes.
When a loved one is near the end of their life, it can be difficult to know what to do. End-of-life care can be provided in a hospital or hospice, but many people prefer to keep their loved one at home, where familiar faces and belongings can surround them.
If you’re considering end-of-life care at home for your loved one, there are some essential things to consider to ensure their comfort and dignity. Here are some tips on how to provide a comfortable space for your loved one during their final days.
Create a calming environment
Creating a calming environment is critical to providing comfort for your loved one. This can include soft lighting, comfortable bedding, and familiar objects. You may also want to consider playing soothing music or using aromatherapy to create a peaceful atmosphere. Keeping the room at a comfortable temperature is also essential.
One of the best ways to create a calming environment at home is by letting natural light in. Studies show that natural light can boost people’s moods and reduce feelings of sadness. As such, it would be ideal to install lantern roof lights in the patient’s bedroom so that they can still enjoy the outdoors while staying indoors. This will also help to make their room feel more open and spacious.
Your loved one may have difficulty moving or sitting up, so a comfortable bed or chair is essential. Pillows, cushions, and blankets can also help prevent pressure sores and make the space more comfortable. If your loved one is in pain, speak to their healthcare provider about ways to manage it effectively.
In addition, it’s essential to make sure the room is well-ventilated. An electric fan or air conditioning can help reduce heat and humidity and improve the room’s oxygen supply. This will help your loved one breathe more easily and stay comfortable throughout the day.
End-of-life care at home requires careful management of hygiene. This includes regular bathing or sponge baths, changing bed linens, and ensuring your loved one wears clean clothes. You may want to enlist the help of a caregiver or nurse to assist with these tasks.
Moreover, it’s essential to manage the elimination of bodily fluids, such as urine and feces. Incontinence pads can be used to absorb these fluids and prevent odors. In addition, disposable gloves should be worn when handling any body fluids.
Provide emotional support
Providing emotional support is just as important as physical care. Talk to your loved one, listen to their concerns and fears, and help them to feel comfortable expressing their emotions. You may also want to arrange for a chaplain or spiritual advisor to visit if your loved one would find it helpful.
Consider equipment needs
While it may not be easy, providing your loved one with end-of-life care at home can be a rewarding experience. However, it’s essential to be prepared with the necessary equipment to make the experience as comfortable as possible for your loved one. Here are some basic equipment needed for patients in end-of-life care at home.
Depending on your loved one’s condition, a hospital bed may be necessary to provide the required care. Hospital beds are adjustable, making changing positions and preventing bedsores easier. They also have rails that can be adjusted to avoid falls and provide extra support.
For patients who are not bedridden, a wheelchair is crucial to help them move around the home without help. A suitable wheelchair will provide comfort and support for your loved one, with adjustable footrests and armrests.
Patients with respiratory distress may require oxygen therapy to help them breathe. An oxygen tank can be rented or purchased, with options for stationary or portable tanks.
A bedside commode can be an essential piece of equipment for patients who have difficulty getting to the bathroom. These commodes can be placed next to the bed for convenience, and many come with adjustable height options.
Providing end-of-life care at home is a challenging but rewarding experience. By creating a comfortable and peaceful environment, ensuring your loved one’s physical needs are met, managing hygiene, considering equipment needs, and providing emotional support, you can help ensure their final days are as comfortable and dignified as possible. Remember to also take care of yourself during this time and seek help from healthcare professionals if needed.