Whenever you are planning for the end of life of a loved one, you will have a lot of questions. One of those questions may be, “what does my loved one need for hospice care?”
Your loved one may be in a care facility or have hospice care at home. Eighty percent of Americans say they would prefer to die at home, if possible, but this is only the case about 20% of the time. Regardless of where your loved one is during hospice care, it’s a good idea to have some of the following items on hand.
At Home Medical Supplies and Equipment
Depending on your hospice provider, they may provide equipment or make it available for rental. Make sure to contact your loved one’s hospice care team about what they will offer and what you need to get.
General Medical Supplies
Medical equipment and supplies will vary by what conditions or illnesses your loved one has. However, there are certain medical supplies that are helpful to have around.
- Any necessary palliative medication
- Dressings for any wounds like bandages and gauze
- Adult wet wipes for cleaning
- Any incontinence care supplies like adult diapers, bedpans or underpads
- Extra oxygen and oxygen tubing
- Disposable needles and syringes
- Disposable gloves for the caregiver
- An electric adjustable bed to help them easily adjust their position and enter or exit
- Wheelchair, walker or crutches
- A bedside commode
- A C-Pap machine to aid sleep
- A beside vitals monitor
At Home or in Facility Comfort and Convenience Items
Having the right medical supplies and equipment is essential for your loved one, but there are certain items you may want to provide to give him or her more comfort and convenience.
- Extra blankets. Many times, those who are terminally ill get cold quickly. The easiest way to regulate their temperature is by adding or removing covers.
- Positioning devices like wedges and cushions. If your loved one is restricted to their bed, positioning devices can help alleviate any bed or pressure sores that can develop if one stays in the same position for too long.
- A bedside radio device for accessible communication with a caregiver. If you are the primary caregiver for your loved one, having a form of straightforward communication for when you are not in the room is crucial.
- An over-the-bed table. An over-the-bed table can make food, drink or any other items more accessible. This type of platform is also great for media placement such as laptops, books or tablets.
- Any favorite food or snacks. If your loved one is willing and able to eat, having favorite snacks on hand can help give them an emotional boost.
What You Need as the Caregiver
The biggest thing you need as you take on the responsibility of being a primary caregiver is the ability to accept help and encouragement from others. Being a caregiver is no small task and can be very mentally, physically and emotionally draining. Having friends and family take small chores and errands while you care for your loved one can help alleviate some of your burdens.
If you need more help than your friends and family can offer, consider contacting a hospice and palliative care service. These organizations can give your loved one the professional attention they need and the peace of mind you need knowing they are in good hands. From physician and nurse services to emotional support, a good hospice care team can add life to your loved one’s last days.