3 amazing Hospice care tips that helped us navigate the devastating transition from treatment to end of life.
Things changed quickly for us at the end of my dad’s journey with Lung Cancer. We had been trucking along for almost 2 years when some unexpected (and serious) complications popped up.
That meant moving from treatment to Hospice, immediately.
I know it sounds ridiculous, but I was completely blindsided. We had been fighting a hell of a battle up until this point so this transition was devastating and unexpected.
The truth is I never accepted the possibility that we wouldn’t make it. I was prepared to fight for as long and hard as we could no matter how exhausted we were.
So when we found ourselves here… It was like being sucker punched in the gut.
It was a really bad time for my family.
During that time, we learned some simple hospice care tips that helped us tremendously, and they will help you too…
If you’ve just found yourself in a hospice situation and aren’t sure what to expect we walk you through our experience here…
Despite the fact, that we were devastated… Hospice was INCREDIBLE!
The people who do that job are angels sent straight down from Heaven. They were compassionate, helpful, and they know things no one should ever have to know.
They didn’t just focus on daddy, they provided a ton of support to us. They listened to our stories, looked at our pictures, and they even cried with us.
I couldn’t even begin to tell you everything we learned from Hospice.
They were available 24 hours a day and gave us emergency contact numbers to call for anything we needed. We usually saw 2-3 people a day (nurses, aides, chaplains, social workers). They gave us all the supplies we needed, and they helped us navigate some pretty scary and difficult terrain.
And it didn’t cost us a dime. Not one penny.
They taught us so much and supported us during a really dark and confusing time. If you ever find yourself in need of Hospice (although I pray you never do), rest assured you are in good and capable hands.
You can take a look at the Community Hospice Program that we used to get an idea of the care and compassion they provide.
3 AMAZING TIPS we learned from Hospice
(Full credit for the tips in this post goes to the Community Hospice Program, they were incredible!)
The Best Hospice Care Tips for Bathing
We attempted this one on our own and had no idea what we were doing. Bathing was pretty simple…once we learned from Hospice how to actually do it.
Skip the washcloths, they’re abrasive and they feel like sandpaper.
Add warm clean water (no soap needed) to the dishpan and throw in the disposable wipes. Now you can clean every area of the body with the wipes and rinse them (or toss them and add more) as necessary.
Gently do the front and then roll your loved one onto each side to take care of the back.
When you’re done, the water gets tossed and the wipes get thrown out. The pan can be washed out for tomorrow.
Update: How do you get through this when you’re exhausted and devastated? You clear your mind, get some of this stress out of your system and focus on what’s important.
Take Back Your Life From Cancer is a journal created to help you find hope, perspective, and the motivation you’ll need to keep fighting in the midst of the storm. And the best part, it’s free.
The Best Hospice Care Tips for Bathroom Situations
Let’s get real here. Depends are fantastic for urine.
They’re HORRIBLE for bowel movements, diarrhea, accidents, or anything like that. Unfortunately, bathroom issues and bowel movements are a significant part of hospice, so we really needed help…
Northshore Supreme Briefs: I scoured Amazon and I found these… They’re fantastic! Nothing is getting through these bad boys. Nothing.
These briefs are not cheap, they run about $40 for a pack so use them as needed… But I’m telling you, they are solid. They’re adult diapers that keep you clean and dry with no leaking so there’s not a whole lot of additional clean-up.
They are 100% worth the money because they make bathroom situations SO MUCH EASIER to manage. (P.S. These were also fantastic for long car rides before we started Hospice).
Disposable Underpads (Chux): Hospice will provide these for you but you can also get these anywhere. They’re fantastic as an extra layer of protection. Place them on top of the sheet and under your loved one.
We used these during our whole battle with cancer… If your loved one is not bedridden, you can use them anywhere. On a bed, in the car, on the couch… anywhere you need an additional layer of protection.
Anti-Fungal Cream: Slather (and I do mean slather) an anti-fungal lotion similar to this one all over the important areas (groin and buttocks) to make sure that any moisture, heat, wetness, etc. doesn’t create a problem.
Just slather the lotion on and leave a good layer of coverage.
Don’t rub it in until it disappears, slather it all over and leave it on thick for extra protection.
The Best Hospice Care Tips for Dressing
Of all of the Hospice care tips, the one that ALWAYS sticks out in my mind is the T-shirt trick.
What’s the easiest way to change a T-shirt when your loved one is not able to help you?
This is brilliant. And it was easy.
You take a soft cotton T-shirt. Just a plain white undershirt works great.
Cut the shirt in the back, straight up the middle. A straight line from bottom to top.
You place one arm in, and then the other and tuck the remainder of the shirt in the back.
Easy to get on and even easier to get off. And you just throw them in the wash like normal.
That one little trick made changing my dad a whole lot easier. It eliminated the full body workout of lifting him, pulling, and tugging to get the shirt on and off. It made the whole process SIMPLE.
If you find yourself suddenly facing the idea of hospice for someone you love, trust me it’s a sucker punch straight to your gut. The transition from treatment to end of life is scary End of life is heavy, terrifying, nerve wracking stuff.
But with the incredible help we had from Hospice, we were able to make it through. And you will too.
I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but you can do this. Just take it moment to moment and do the best you can. There is no “right way” to go through this.
There will be lots of tears, lots of stories, and lots of love. It will be an exhausting, emotional, “you have nothing left to give” experience…
Despite all of that, you’re gonna make it. And after a while, things will start to feel normal again. Different, but a “new” normal nonetheless.
Just keep going. You can do this.
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