WAYS TO SUPPORT FAMILY OR FRIENDS ON HOSPICE CARE
- Don’t avoid the patient. Be the friend or loved one you have always been.
- Call before you visit, but don’t be afraid to visit. They maybe lonely. Ask questions about what they need and when is the best time for company.
- Touch the patient. A simple squeeze of their hand can tell them you still care.
- Bring a positive attitude; it’s contagious.
- Cook a favorite meal. Bring disposable containers so they won’t worry about returns.
- Weep with the patient when they weep. Laugh when they laugh. Don’t be afraid to share these emotions.
- You don't have to talk. Sitting silently together can be a comfort to others.
- Take care of the patient’s children. They may need time to be alone with their loved one. The children may also need a short break.
- Take the patient out for a pleasure trip, but know their limitations.
- Ask the patient if they need transportation to the doctor or the store.
- Call for a shopping list and make a “special” delivery to their home.
- Celebrate holidays by decorating the patient’s room or home.
- Help the patient’s family. Offer to come stay with the patient to give the family a break, or invite them out.
- If appropriate, pray together.
- Send a card that says, “I care.”
- Bring small gifts of flowers or other natural treasures.
- Water the plants.
- Offer to help with laundry, dirty dishes or light housekeeping.
- Ask if the patient wants to talk about their illness. Ask, “Do you feel like talking about it?”
SOME WAYS TO MAKE CAREGIVING EASIER INCLUDE:
- Asking for help with anything and everything
- Keeping a baby monitor near your bed to better hear if your loved one needs anything while you are resting
- Appointing one person to keep loved ones and friends informed
- Developing a back-up plan in the event caregiving becomes overwhelming
- Keep a notebook with all caregiving information in one place; have this notebook with you when you talk to the hospice staff
- When you are describing a new symptom, give as many details as possible. These details help your hospice team find the best solutions
- Always feel free to ask questions and seek help from the hospice staff
- If you do not understand something, keep asking questions until you completely understand