Hospice patients are people who have a chronic illness that requires care around the clock. Many patients are terminal, but their comfort is just as important as any other patient.

Here are a few tips to help hospice patients feel comfortable.

Extra Assistance
Regardless of whether the patient is at home or in a facility, it is a good idea to have an extra set of hands to help you whenever possible. Things like moving the patient in and out of bed, bathing, and dressing can be difficult for one person. If you struggle, you take the chance of injuring yourself or the patient. To maximize hospice patient comfort, make sure the patient is familiar and acceptable with your helper.

Bedding
Although it may seem meaningless to you, smooth sheets and blankets may make sleeping and resting more comfortable to a hospice patient. Many patients experience hypersensitive skin, so the smallest bunch or wrinkle can be very uncomfortable. The same concept applies to the fabric used. Whenever possible, choose softer fabrics for bedding. In addition, you should have access to different blanket weights. Blankets can be switched out depending on whether the patient is cold or warm. Heavier weighted blankets might be a good idea for warmth, but they may cause uncomfortable pressure on the patient’s body.

Location
Hospice care at home gives a little more freedom in choosing where the patient’s main area will be. He or she may want to be set up in the living room or a sunroom, so they do not feel alienated. If the area is more public, you will still need to provide some privacy, which can be accomplished by setting up folding privacy screens. In a facility, options are more limited. While you can brighten up a room, it can still feel alienating to the patient. In this case, if the patient can be moved out of bed, consider allowing them some time outside or in an activity room.

Visitors
Your hospice patient is going to have good days and bad days. Allow him or her the option of welcoming visitors. Also, some visitors may be more important to the patient, such as church members or family. Make sure that people call before visiting to allow the patient the choice of whether they are feeling good enough to welcome visitors.

Doctor’s Instructions
The instructions given by the doctor and other medical professionals are important to the patient’s comfort. This includes dietary restrictions and medications. By sticking to a schedule, you can help hospice patients more comfortable. Stomach discomfort and unnecessary pain can be reduced.

The goal is to help make hospice patients comfortable, physically and mentally. Hospice care involves much more than just basic care duties. It addresses the patient’s mental and emotional comfort as well. Ultimately, the patient can usually provide the best direction for what he or she needs.

If you have any questions about hospice care, please contact us.