Here are some suggestions to help you manage end of life symptoms to help your loved one’s experience be more peaceful and comfortable.
Touch-The power of touch during this time cannot be underestimated. Physical help and physical contact can provide tremendous comfort.
- Hold their hand and assure them that you are with them
- Elevate their head or turn them on their side make them more comfortable
- Massage feet, hands, head, or back when appropriate
- You may feel it is appropriate to join your loved one in bed and cuddle
Cleanliness-Keeping clean is important for personal dignity and comfort.
- Change wet or soiled bedclothes and linens
- Keep lips and mouth moist and clean
- Wash with warm water and mild soap
- Apply a protective cream or lotion to prevent skin irritation
- Use disposable pads and briefs if necessary
- Remove secretions from their mouth with a warm wet washcloth
Medication-Pain, restlessness, agitation and shortness of breath are common at the end of life. Comfort medications are often prescribed by the doctor and can provide great relief. In addition, many medications used to treat chronic diseases and their symptoms are continued in hospice. Sometimes a bowel regime is needed. Follow advice from your doctor, pharmacist and hospice nurse when providing medication.