Spending one’s last days at home used to be a prevalent situation. Unfortunately, since the 1960s, hospital ICUs have become the most commonplace for people to spend their final moments. However, with advances in technologies and attitudes, the “luxury” of being able to receive hospice or palliative care at home is once again returning to the mainstream. While this is good news for hospice patients and those closest to them, a proper home hospice setup is a crucial aspect of delivering quality care.
Determining the Best Course of Action
Before home hospice can take place, the arrangement needs to be approved and reviewed by attending medical professionals. If the patient has intense or unique care needs, home hospice or palliative care may not be possible. Not only will the attending medical professionals need to sign off on a home hospice arrangement, but they will also be integral to developing the best home care plan possible.
Limiting Hazards for Patients & Caregivers Alike
To provide the patient with the most excellent care, caregivers must be given the most optimal workplace possible. Though patient comfort is of the utmost concern with a home hospice or palliative care setup, providing this comfort will be more difficult for caregivers if a home hospice space is unnecessarily cluttered. This means that all unnecessary tripping hazards (rugs, items, etc.) or inhibitive accessories (unnecessary furniture, hanging lights, etc.) must be removed from the care spaces.
Preparing the Bedroom
The bedroom will be one of the most crucial sections of the house for optimal patient care. As mobility declines, more and more attention will be administered from this space. Because of the limited mobility as well as confined space, a typical hospital bed is recommended. If the bedroom space is not ample enough to accommodate a hospital bed and all of the necessary care equipment, a larger room may be selected as the place where the bed will reside. Some options may include a den, front room, or even a living room.
For the safety and comfort of patients, easy access to the home’s bathroom is crucial. Once in the bathroom, new hazards emerge. Because more slips and falls occur in the bathroom than anywhere else in the house of someone with unique needs, non-slip mats, handrails, heightened toilet seats, and shower chairs must be installed. Any bathroom used by the patient should be able to accommodate all of the medical accessories and needs.
Keeping Home Cozy
There’s little use in allowing a hospice or palliative care patient access to home care if their home doesn’t feel as such. To keep the home feeling like a home rather than a hospital room in their house, comfort-inducing touches are essential. A patient’s favorite activities should be easily accessible—this includes access to games, books, pictures, keepsakes, television, a computer, telephone, and the like. When possible, their own favorite pillows, blankets, and furniture should be utilized when their need arises.
Accessible Care Plans
There’s a good chance that multiple caretakers will be tasked with caring for an at-home hospice or palliative care patient. These various caretakers will need to work in sync with one another to provide consistent care. To facilitate this partnership, a care folder or plan should exist within the home in an accessible place. Ideally, this place within the house should be dedicated to managing the patient’s at-home care. The folder in this area should contain documents that outline the patient’s needs, emergency contact information, medication schedules, meal plans, and anything else needed to ensure patient comfort.
The goal of home hospice and palliative care is not a hospital room disguised as a home, but a home that can still accommodate all of a patient’s medical needs.
All of this possible from the friendly professionals serving Greater Tulsa, OK at Cura HPC Hospice & Palliative Care.