A homey environment is often associated with memories, with family, friends and autonomy. Patients want their immediate environment ‘homey’ and arrange their own belonging and mementos around their bed. A recent study looked at the belongings taken into a hospice by patients and found that patients had an average of 5.7 objects at their bedside, and in most cases these included items which were of great personal significance to them (Kellehear, Pugh, & Atter, 2009).
In addition to have familiar objects nearby, creating a comforting and comfortable space is important.
Things that make an environment comforting:
- Support privacy when needed
- Support social interaction including space for visitors to sit by the bedside
- Provide views of nature and sunlight
- Dim lights if there is light sensitivity
- Play soft music (music enjoyed by the patient)
- Provide good smells from flowers, cooking food, or a candle
- Circulate air with an electric fan or open window
- Support spirituality by creating a sacred space