If you’re one of the many people beginning to care for a terminally ill loved one who is also in hospice treatment, you need to know what is expected of caretakers.
We found an informative article that explores the “nuts and bolts” of the hospice-caretaker relationship that we think will help. Since hospice professionals do not provide around the clock care, family caretakers are expected to cover four main areas of need:
1. Be There for Them
One person cannot do it alone. To avoid burnout, plan for reinforcements.
- Assign one person to do all the communicating and organizing
- Mass email lists are useful when enlisting help. You will find people are willing to volunteer for hours or even spend the night to give you a break
- Give potential caretakers specific instructions for caring for your loved one
- Your loved one needs meals. There are sites available like “Take Them a Meal” where you can schedule food delivery from friends
2. Manage their Nutrition
Let your loved one eat whatever food they want. Do not force them to eat. Forcing food on them may increase their discomfort and will not extend their life.
- Offer frequent snacks that are easy to chew and swallow, like milkshakes, jello, soups and popsicles
- Make sure your loved one sits up to eat and drink. This decreases the chance they will aspirate food or liquid into their lungs
3. Help in the Bathrom
Helping a dying person bath and go to the toilet can be difficult for some people. Here are a few suggestions for managing these essential tasks.
- If you are uncomfortable, ask your hospice provider to regularly bath your loved one
- Purchase a shower chair and bedside commode to make it easier
- Transferring patients from bed to bathroom can cause injury, learn how to transfer them safely
4. Administering Medication
You want to administer enough pain medication to keep your loved one comfortable but not too much to cause unwanted side effects. Work closely with your hospice professional to understand when you can adjust medications to provide the best pain relief.
Read the story here.