Considering caring for
your loved one in your home?
Being a caregiver for your loved one is one of the most challenging and most rewarding tasks you will ever do.
Hospice of North Idaho can support you as you take on the role of caregiver.
You will have access to 24-hour nurses to answer your questions, make in-home visits, and treat any symptoms you may experience. We also offer trained nursing assistants and volunteers for extra support. Appropriate medications and needed medical equipment are provided.
Call now to discuss your unique wishes. No one is ever turned away because of financial circumstances.
Choose comfort. Choose quality.
Choose the community’s trusted Hospice since 1981.
Your Hospice Care Team will provide you education for safe care at home.
One of the greatest gifts can be human contact and loving support.
1. Be sure to wash your hands before and after providing care to prevent infection or its spread. Wear gloves if handling body fluids.
2. If using an adjustable bed, raise the level of the bed to reduce the strain on your back during caregiving. Be sure to lower it after care is completed.
3. Don’t over-use powders to keep skin creases dry. Powder tends to cake. Use sparingly. Avoid powder if any respiratory problems are present.
4. Keep skin soft with lotion to help prevent dry skin.
5. Bath time can be a simple sponge bath. It may not be necessary to bathe daily. Always wash clean areas first and move toward more soiled areas last.
6. Oral care should be done at bath time and after meals or more frequently if the patient breathes primarily through their mouth.
7. Your loved one may lose interest in their favorite activities and talk less often. When they talk, use this time to listen. Gentle touch, a listening ear, and silence can be most meaningful.
8. Your loved one may sleep most often, at times they will be more difficult to arouse and when awakened can seem confused and drowsy.
9. You may expect waking dreams. They may report seeing or speaking with loved ones who have died or talk about going on a trip, seeing lights, butterflies, or other things. Listen calmly with acceptance for their experience. If the experience is disturbing to them, talk to your nurse.
10. Your loved one may want less food. It is normal to lose weight and lose appetite. The body naturally shuts down and may not process the food it receives. On the other hand, your loved one may request their favorite meal or drink. Let the patient be the guide.
11. Hearing is the last of the senses to be lost. Share your favorite memories, pray, or play their favorite music.
12. Breathing patterns often become slower or faster in cycles. If you are worried about these changes let your care team know. Oral secretions may increase and collect in the back of the throat producing a rattling noise. This does not mean they are experiencing distress with breathing. The patient may likely be too weak to cough up secretions. Elevate the head of the bed and turn the patient to either side. Your hospice nurse in collaboration with the physician may order medications to decrease this symptom.
13. Extremities of the body may discolor toward purple coloration and feel cool. This is not painful, it is a natural slowing of blood circulation. Keep your loved one covered with a light blanket.
14. Prepare your home to be a safe place to provide care:
a. Make it easy for all visitors to access hand washing areas and post hand washing procedures.
b. Provide cleaning wipes in each room where care is taking place.
c. Reduce the risk of falls by removing rugs, cords/wires/tubes, or other tripping hazards from walking areas.
d. Install grab bars as needed.
e. Store medications in a cupboard or drawer where the caregiver can monitor its access.
f. Talk to Hospice about getting a Life Alert System.
g. Learn correct storage and use of oxygen from Hospice.
PLANNING AND PREPARATION RESOURCES
Families have told us that planning for a
good ending is empowering and honors life.
Our culture prepares so comprehensively for birth, but not for death. There are many decisions about end-of-life care that are beyond medical and estate decisions. Ask our social workers, and learn more about these resources:
The Conversation Project – Free toolkit about the benefits of taking with your family, and how to have end-of-life discussions.
Visit http://theconversationproject.org/ and watch the video ABC World News with Diane Sawyer: The Conversation Project.
Death Over Dinner – An uplifting interactive adventure that transforms this seemingly difficult conversation into one of deep engagement, insight and empowerment.
Provides easy Q&A http://deathoverdinner.org/
Being Mortal – Author, Atul Gawande, MD talks about the specialties of trained geriatric doctors, the personal choice for quality of life, and the effect of recent medical approach to treat for hopeful miracles.
Book http://atulgawande.com/book/being-mortal/ and PBS Documentary http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/being-mortal/
Idaho Advance Directives packet contains the Idaho Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, and optional organ donation form. These documents will be used to guide your care if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself.
These documents become legally binding upon the signature of the adult. Notarizations are not necessary. Hospice social workers or an attorney can assist in the process, as needed. Talk about your decisions with your family. Change your Directives, as needed. Register your Directives with the Idaho Secretary of State so that healthcare providers and loved ones can access a copy. http://www.sos.idaho.gov/hcdr/index.html
The Idaho POST
A Physician Order for Scope of Treatment (POST) is filled out by your primary care physician in consultation with you. It describes your wishes for medical treatment at the end of life stage due to an incurable disease or irreversible injury. It describes your wishes regarding resuscitation, comfort measures, IV and ventilation interventions, fluids and antibiotics. Your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care cannot override your POST form unless your POA can provide evidence that your last known expressed wishes are different from those indicated on the POST. The POST takes precedence of your care above all other documents.
NHPCO on Caregiving http://www.caringinfo.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3323
Soul Injury, Healing the Aftermath of War and Trauma (for both 20th and 21st century Veterans): http://www.opuspeace.org/
Pet Therapy: How Animals And Humans Heal Each Other http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2012/03/09/146583986/pet-therapy-how-animals-and-humans-heal-each-other
Grief.com Because love never dies https://grief.com/
End of Life Parables, a YouTube video series: Creative and helpful representations describing the hard concepts in hospice and palliative care for families and care providers. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEi2lJZnm3Mdo9JNPjaExBg