Friday, August 1, 2014
Hospice is a system of support for the family and a dying patient while they are in their home. Hospice will not provide around the clock care for the patient in the home environment. While some hospice organizations have facilities where people can go to receive care, it is expected the family members will be with the patient except for periods of respite. Thus, it is important that family members with dying patients do the following:
- Be there for your loved one. At some point, illness will cause a loved one to need around the clock care. Make a plan so that one person is not doing this all alone.
- Feed your family member. Let your loved one have whatever food they want when they want it. Many dying patients lose their appetite, so do not force them to eat anything. At the end of life, forcing nutrition may increase discomfort and does not prolong life.
- Help with bathing. This tends to be an area where ailing patients have the most discomfort. Assisting a loved one with a bath is an excellent way to lend support.
- Administer Medication. You want to keep your loved one comfortable, but you do not want to give too much medicine that it effects them adversely. Work closely with hospice to understand how and when to adjust medications.
See Carolyn McClanahan, Nuts and Bolts of End of Life Care, Forbes, August 1, 2014.