Dealing with the fact that a loved one doesn’t have much longer to live is far from easy. However, one option for an easier transition is to receive at-home hospice care. Some decide to pass away at home because of the sentiments behind it, family may be at home, and overall, it can allow for a calmer space for the patient. Here are eight steps to prepare for hospice care.
1. Prepare for the Caregiver
Although those in the home may be used to the same amount of people, with in-home hospice care you’ll need to make room for one more addition—the caregiver. This will be an adjustment for everyone involved, so get to know the caregiver and ask questions on how you and your family can help to make this process as smooth as possible.
Additionally, you’ll want to keep the home maintained well, so that the caregiver can come and go without encountering hazards, like small toys on the floor if there are children in the home. There will likely be medical equipment brought into the home, and this is another reason cleanliness and home maintenance are important in preparation for hospice care.
2. Be Mindful of Excess Noise
The type of environment the patient had in the home before shouldn’t be the same environment they had before. Depending on the home, there are a range of elements that may be normal for the average home that will need to be reconsidered as you prepare for in-home hospice care. All members of the home should be advised to be thoughtful in how they move through the house, so as not to disturb the patient. Keeping noise levels to a minimum is usually preferred for most patients and if something the family should be mindful of as they adjust to the new home environment.
3. Be Mindful of Temperature
As mentioned, it’s important for the patient to be as comfortable as possible. The temperature should be maintained at a level that’s comfortable for the patient, especially considering that their condition may make them feel cooler or warmer than usual. Additionally, make sure the temperature does not fluctuate at a rate that is uncomfortable for the patient. If necessary, assign one person to monitor the thermostat or keep all members of the household informed of the new temperature regulations.
4. Be Mindful of Lighting
In addition to temperature, it’s important to maintain comfortable lighting. You don’t want the room too dark or too light for the patient. If necessary, switch the bulbs accordingly. Also, keep in mind to adjust the blinds for the patient, too; if he/she wants more light, open them up, or if he/she wants to nap, close the blinds all the way.
5. Prepare the Bedroom
Some patients require meager accommodations, while others will need an influx of additional equipment to make their room a safer, more comfortable environment. For patients that will spend most of their time in bed, it’s especially important that the bedroom is kept up to standards they feel comfortable with. You may consider exchanging a regular bed for a hospital bed. These beds can vary in price and in style. Some beds simply keep the patient upright, while others come with full electric capabilities. A hospital bed would only add to the quality of life and comfort for the patient undergoing in-hospice care.
6. Prepare the Bathroom
Maintaining the bathroom is another important element to preparing for in-home hospice care. The patient may be experiencing a hard time maintaining their balance or performing activities of daily living. Adding handles to the toilet and the tub so that the patient can use the bathroom or bathe more easily is a great way to make the home more comfortable for them. Placing mats on the bottom of the tub is also recommended so that the patient can bathe with less of a chance of slipping and falling.
7. Keep Meaningful Items
Although this difficulty of transition is painstakingly obvious, the patient can maintain a sense of comfort by keeping meaningful items in the room and home. Things like framed photos, cards, heirlooms and more should be left in the home where the patient can continue to reminisce and truly feel at-home, despite these sudden life changes.
8. Keep Documentation
It’s highly important that all medical documents related to the patient are kept in a safe, organized space. Should the caregiver or the hospice facility need the documents, you’ll want to have them at the ready. These documents will be important to have after the patient has passed, too. Save yourself the hassle of searching for these documents in the future by keeping track of them now.
Speak to a Hospice Care Provider
Now that you know how to prepare for in-home hospice care, you can decide if it’s right for your loved one. Talk to them and your family about the benefits of in-home hospice care so you can make the best informed decision.
Now that you’re informed on how to prepare for hospice care, you should speak to a professional about your next steps. Trust Harbor Light Hospice to help you with your hospice care needs. Learn more online or contact us today to find a location near you.