Anyone wondering about visiting a patient in hospice care probably has a few concerns, but it is important to remember that visitors are usually welcome during certain hours of the day. Hospice care can last for several months, and while during the last few days only close family members or friends are able to visit, a patient is usually happy to have visitors in the earliest stages of their hospice care.
What to Know When Visiting a Patient in Hospice Care
Hospice care is offered to individuals during their last six months or less of life, and this provides an opportunity for loved ones to visit several times. Our organization believes this time is a wonderful opportunity for people to reconnect and share appreciation for each other during end of life.
It is important to not delay visiting with a loved one who is in hospice care because despite being told there are several months left to live, it is possible for an emergency to occur, and the patient may pass away before the projected date. In addition, during the earliest stages of a terminal illness, the patient is still able to listen and communicate fully.
What Can a Visitor Bring to a Patient?
Before arriving with a gift for a hospice care patient, talk to a registered nurse or caregiver at the facility about the most appropriate item to bring. A patient on a restrictive diet or receiving respiratory assistance may not be able to eat candy or have fragrant flowers nearby.Excellent items to bring along are photograph albums or mementos from the past, DVDs or CDs and reading material such as books and magazines. It is important to remember that a hospice patient may also have vision or hearing problems that make some gifts inappropriate.
Listening to inspirational music or speakers is appropriate for patients during their final days as they are unable to communicate or slip into a semiconscious condition. However, the most important thing is to visit a patient as soon as possible without worrying about bringing a gift.
What Can Visitors Discuss with a Hospice Patient?
Most individuals have never visited a hospice care facility before and are nervous when talking to a terminally ill patient. There is no need to discuss death with the patient unless they bring up the topic, and in most cases, a patient will not become distressed or upset with visitors.Hospice patients want to talk about past events or discuss family history with visitors that will be remembered by others after they are gone, and this is a good time to listen to advice from a wiser and older individual.
A patient in hospice care still has many valuable things to say and do before their death, and this is a great time to learn more about the patient’s accomplishments during their lifetime.
Can Children Visit a Hospice Patient?
Parents are especially concerned about bringing a child to visit a hospice patient, but it is more natural to include children in these visits. It is easier for a child to understand why a beloved grandparent or aunt is missing from their life when they know it is because the person is ill. It is not fair to a child to hide the facts of an impending death from them until it is too late to visit.
At the same time, a parent must discuss what will happen during the visit in a way that is suitable for their child’s age and temperament. Make sure to bring along videos of a child participating in a sport activity or award ceremony to help keep conversation as natural as possible. Feel free to enjoy the time spent together during this time, and it is acceptable to laugh during a visit.
When a young child visits someone in hospice care, they require supervision to prevent damaging medical equipment such as oxygen tanks or electrical wires or perhaps needing to cope with a patient who becomes unresponsive, upset or needs an emergency treatment from medical personnel. Any parent needing assistance with explaining hospice care or death with a child can contact our organization by telephone today.