Making the Person Comfortable
So now, you or a loved one has been admitted and someone is taking care of your personal details at home, or maybe – it’s just you. What could you pack in advance of admission, to ensure the patient is comfortable? Here are some suggestions:
- Earplugs, eye mask
- Seaboard anti-nausea ginger gum
- For dry mouth – Ludens moisture drops or Starburst lemon head candies or Biotene
- Electric or disposable razor
- For inspiration: A courage medallion or a Be Brave plaque
- Flip flops
- Compact mirror
- Eyeglass wipes
- Small travel hair dryer
- Socks to keep feet warm
- Shawl or cozy blanket
- Travel size baby wipes for hand cleaning and freshening
- Travel size skin cream/lip balm/toothbrush and toothpaste
- For emotional well-being: calming prayers, cards, journal, book(s)
- Neck pillow
- Bed rail saddle bag with pockets for glasses, note paper, etc
- Travel humidifier
- Extension cord
Creating an environment that serves the patient’s best interests creates comfort, calm and a sense of some control and speeds their healing journey. The stress of the unknown diagnosis can affect a person’s demeanour, whether that’s the patient or the caretaker(s). Pay attention and ask questions of the medical team.
For long term care situations:
- Take turns in a family and friends group to form a care team and share the care so that the stress of caregiving is also shared. Organize a small group if possible to share the long term care of someone who will need support over more than a month. This could involve daily visits, active physical support and/or advocacy with the health care team. The team must understand and respect the personal directive that the patient has in place.
- Caretakers should record the patient’s progress in a common record for the team, that is not the chart, but a set of observations for the family and friends visiting or caring for the patient. Whether there is positive or negative changes, recording them is helpful to others who come after to know what to expect of the visit.