5 Ways to Equip Your Home for End-of-Life Care

Posted on February 1, 2018

windowIf you’re living with a loved one who’s nearing the end of their life, it’s a stressful and emotional time, but it’s essential to make the person’s remaining time as peaceful and stress-free as possible. This entails ensuring they’re physically comfortable, such as by giving them medical care and alternative therapies, as well as making adjustments to your home so it’s a welcoming place for them.

Research published in Palliative Medicine Journal has found that carers crave knowledge about how to look after their dying loved ones, with tasks such as food preparation, medicine administration, and moving the person out of bed sometimes being overwhelming. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s always a good idea to reach out to professionals for advice. This could take the form of using the End With Care website to find support and gain helpful resources. There are other things you can do to safely and effectively care for a dying loved one at home.


shelfGet The Right Bed 
If your loved one stays in bed most of the time, a hospital style bed that can be adjusted to different positions will give them greater comfort. These beds also come with railings, which prevent falls. Since the bed is quite large, it will need to be in a spacious room. Speak to your doctor as hospital beds can be covered by medical aid if your doctor has ordered them.


Adapt Your Bathroom 
Some people nearing the end of life might experience difficulty with getting into baths or sitting on the toilet. Grab rails and bath steps can be helpful. Raised toilet seats are also beneficial to make going to the bathroom much less stressful. Some patients, such as those dealing with dementia, can become incontinent. Thus, bedpans, waterproof mattresses and commodes can help them deal with embarrassing situations much better, while retaining their dignity.


Provide Oxygen Amenities 
Many people nearing the end of life will require help with breathing. Oxygen supplies are therefore necessary, and worth organizing through your doctor. These supplies usually take the form of an oxygen machine with oxygen that’s set at the right quantity for the patient’s specific oxygen needs. You might also be given a portable canister so your loved one can move around with the oxygen. Sometimes the oxygen device can be noisy, so it might be best stored in another room. These devices will have a long tube allowing for this. Be safe when using oxygen as it’s flammable. Don’t smoke in the room where it’s in use, and keep the oxygen canisters out of direct heat.


Make Their Bedroom A Sanctuary 
Try to make their bedroom as comfortable as possible as this can also reduce their symptoms. For instance, a foam cushion can make sitting on chairs more comfortable if they’re in pain. A room that’s in an area of the house that’s free of noise can do wonders to calm a restless person who’s in pain. Ensure you always have their medicine handy to administer to them to better manage their physical pain, along with any medical supplies you might need, such as needles for giving them injections. Install temperature sensors so that loved ones don’t feel bothered by heat or cold. If your loved one is a senior, there are many options available to you for effectively caring for seniors who prefer to age in place.


Help Them Get Around
If those cared for can still move around, you want to ensure that they won’t fall and safely care at home injure themselves. Increase the safety of the bedroom with the use of a walker or walking stick by their bedside. If your loved one requires a wheelchair to move around, you’ll have to install ramps and widen doors around the house to make their mobility safer. Make sure that all carpets in the home are free of snags to prevent feet or wheelchair wheels from causing falls or hassles. 

People who are nearing the end of their life require comfort, love, and safety. By ensuring you meet these vital needs, you can play an important role in making their last days on earth ones filled with peace and happiness.

By freelance writer, Jane Zachery


About End With Care

End With Care Corp is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization helping to provide end-of-life information and access to resources found
throughout Massachusetts.

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