Hospice care patients have several needs during the end of their life. Their care aims at soothing and helping the patient cope with these issues and boosting their physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Improving physical comfort is not very easy in patients facing life-limiting conditions particularly in home care settings. This, in most instances, hastens a patient’s passing on and negatively impacts the end of their life.
Other than pain, there are different elements which affect physical comfort that can be adequately addressed at hospice care services in Indiana. Here are these elements and the techniques used to alleviate them.
People with a life-limiting condition have dry and fragile skin which can be a source of discomfort. A damp cloth can be used to occasionally wet the patient while keeping them well-hydrated through oral and intravenous fluid intake.
Frequent turning of bed-ridden patients also helps prevent bed sores and pressure ulcers which cause skin breakdown.
People at their end of life may not tell you if they are too cold or hot. Caregivers will rely on signs of heat or cold to know if the patient needs warmth or cooling. They will also ensure the patient is not over-heated with the methods they use.
As such, most hospice centers do not use electric blankets as these have a risk of over-heating. They are not worth the extra cost as well.
Life-limiting conditions are physically and emotionally draining. Inactivity, however, slows down the body significantly and should be avoided as much as possible. To this end, physiotherapy and sports for those who can manage them are a crucial part of hospice care.
Watching a loved one slowly see the end of their life is hard enough, but seeing the same person in excruciating pain is even worse. While not everyone who is dying experience pain, most of them do, and there is always something you can do to alleviate it.
Medical experts believe that when caring for a dying person, you should solely focus on pain relief without being concerned about long-term issues of drug abuse or dependence. Therefore, if you notice pain relive drugs that you have are not working, always ask for a change and get a stronger pain reliever.
Shortness of breath also referred to as dyspnea is a common problem with patients at the end of their lives. You can help alleviate this discomfort by opening a window, raising the head of the bed, having a fan circulate air in the room, or using a humidifier.
If this does not help, a doctor might recommend the use of morphine to relieve the sense of breathlessness. Call on them right away, or a nurse could help in immediate pain relief. Don’t hesitate as this is what they are there for.
Physical discomfort might be the worst thing a patient with a life-limiting illness deals with. Efficient handling of the above elements will boost the patient’s comfort and consequently prolong their life. This makes hospice care worth it for all patients facing life-limiting conditions.