Hospice Physical Care

Hospice Care involves physical, emotional and spiritual work. For some caregivers, providing physical care is a difficult project. Adult children who are successful in other areas of life find physical care to be especially challenging because it does require just a little bit of coordination and forethought, and it might take a few tries to really get it right. Also, it might require intimate contact with someone who lived life very modestly. I know, during my dad’s hospice, I had to leave the room when my sister shaved him every day. It wasn’t a big deal, it just wasn’t something I was used to. Oral care was okay for me, however, and my sister never got used to that. (Takes a village, right?) In hindsight, being able to provide physical care for our dad during his hospice deepened our relationships with this person who had always taken care of us. It was a way to thank him. It was also something we could DO, something we had some control over, in a scene where most everything seemed to resist being predictable and controlled.

Hygiene, Oral Care, Turning, draw sheets… what aspects of bedside care are the most important for hospice family caregivers to understand? How do you explain or teach it to them in the clearest, most effective way?

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