People who enter into hospice care have terminal illnesses and are usually not expected to live for another year. Hospice services can be provided in the hospital, at a hospice facility, and even at home. If your loved one has gotten a terminal diagnosis and needs end-of-life interventions, consider home hospice care. Here are some important comfort measures you and your loved one can expect from the home hospice staff.
Pain Relief Measures
People nearing the end of life often suffer tremendous pain as a result of cancer metastasizing to the bone or other degenerative diseases. One of the primary interventions provided by the home hospice staff is pain management. If your loved one is non-verbal and unable to make their needs known, the home hospice nurse will monitor them for signs of pain. These signs may include restlessness, touching an area of the body that hurts, crying, or moaning.
If the patient is verbal, they can tell the nurse that they are in pain. Once the presence of pain has been established, the nurse will administer the appropriate dose and type of pain medication as ordered by the primary care physician.
In addition to medication, pain relief measures can include gentle massage, frequent position changes, and the application of warm compresses to painful areas of the body. End-of-life pain management not only helps the terminal patient rest peacefully and quietly, but it is also a great comfort to the family to know that their loved one is comfortable and not suffering.
Terminally ill patients often suffer from dyspnea, also known as shortness of breath. Not only can dyspnea cause hyperventilation, dizziness, and chest pain, but it can also cause severe anxiety when the patient is unable to get a full and satisfying breath. The home hospice care providers will administer oxygen to your loved one so that they can breathe easier and stay comfortable.
While measures to cure a person's illness are not taken once they have entered into hospice care, measures to maintain an effective breathing pattern are important. Other dyspnea treatments may include administering antianxiety medications so that the patient can relax and breathe easier and elevating the head of the bed because an upright position can help facilitate breathing in those who are short of breath.
If your loved one is terminally ill and does not have a favorable prognosis, consider home hospice care. When comfort measures are taken, your loved one may be better able to enjoy many peaceful, comfortable, and even enjoyable days in spite of their illness.