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Preparing Your Home

Updated on June 8, 2013
Abstract Floral Vector Illustration
Abstract Floral Vector Illustration | Source

When mom was first diagnosed with cervical cancer, you couldn’t tell she was sick. She didn’t even feel sick at that point, and therefore, life went on as normal, as normal as possible under the circumstances.

From early September, when she was first diagnosed, to November, things were pretty normal, so I didn’t feel the need to prepare for mom to be bedridden. However, Thanksgiving Day changed everything, and my mom was no longer able to get up and around. She got up to go the bathroom, and that was it. By the end of the year she wasn’t even able to do that.

Everything changed overnight. I was not prepared for mom to be bedridden. There was a four-week period between mom becoming bedridden and her having Hospice visits. During that time I made mistakes that could have been avoided. The biggest mistake I made was not having a foam (Egg crate) cover for mom’s mattress, to keep her from getting bedsores. I thought if she had enough protein in her diet that she wouldn’t get bedsores, but I was wrong. When Hospice began coming to the house, they supplied us with a foam topper for mom’s mattress, and within days, it seemed, her bedsores began to clear up.

So the number one thing would be to make sure to have a foam mattress topper, for your loved one’s bed.

Make sure to have someone show you the proper way of rolling your loved from one side to the other, (So you don’t hurt them) and how to change their diapers. My mom was tiny, and I had a very hard time changing her diaper once she couldn’t lift her bottom for me anymore. If you have Hospice care, they can show you how to do anything you’ll need to know to be able to care for your loved one.

Having a sheet folded in half and lying crosswise under your loved one makes it easier to move them up in the bed, should they slide down. We had to move my mom up higher on her pillow every day, and having that sheet to grab on to made moving her a lot easier, for us and mom.

My friend let us use his pulse and oxygen monitor. You just put it on your loved ones finger and it reads their oxygen saturation level and pulse. I used that on mom every few hours. Also, we found a blood pressure monitor that you strap around the wrist, that was handy to have as well. These are two things that Hospice doesn’t supply for you; you have to buy them yourself. I bought the blood pressure monitor online at Walmart.com.

Having a liquid supplement (Ensure) is a must. There are going to be days when your loved one doesn’t feel like eating, and you need to be able to give them some kind of nourishment. I would suggest getting a syringe, the kind you use with cough medicine, that way if you’re loved one isn’t able to drink on their own; you can use the syringe to feed them. After my mom went through her “Transition” she wasn’t able to drink on her own anymore, so I used her cough medicine syringe to feed her the liquid supplement every few hours. One of the nurses told me to give mom a Gatorade-type drink in place of water; I could use the syringe to give mom that liquid as well.

Waterless shampoo and body wash; it is perfect for someone who is immobile. It’s both shampoo and body wash in one, the smell is nice, and it couldn’t be easier to use.

These are just a few suggestions of things that helped me with my mom’s care. I think that they would be for anyone who is taking care of someone at home.

1. Anyone taking care of a loved one at home would benefit from having Hospice come in to help. They will make all the difference in the world for you and your loved one.

2. Foam mattress topper (To avoid getting bedsores) – Hospice provides

3. Have someone show you the proper way of rolling and diapering your loved one. – Hospice can show you everything you’ll need to know.

4. A folded cross sheet to move you loved one up in bed

5. An oxygen/pulse monitor (For finger) and blood pressure monitor (Wrist)

6. Liquid supplement (Ensure) – Hospice might supply this, I’m not sure. I had already bought mom’s liquid supplements.

7. Gatorade-type drink

8. Syringe to feed the liquid drinks with

9. Waterless shampoo/body wash

Update: June 8, 2013; Your Loved One's Bed

It has been eighteen weeks since my mom passed away, so I’ve had a little time to look back at something that became as issue after mom passed; her bed. I realize that everyone is different, I happen to be a big baby; therefore after mom died I couldn’t hardly stand seeing her bed. There were so many memories, the last of which were of her laying there dead. I finally donated her bed four weeks ago, and I moved her piano in the place where her bed used to sit. It has been a lot easier walking in to her room now and seeing the piano that brought so much joy, as opposed to a bed that represented mom’s death.

This is something for you to think about if you are caring for a loved one in your home. Is it going to bother you to see the bed that your loved one died in? My son made a very valid point when we were taking my mom’s bed a part to get it ready to be picked up; he said, “It’s a good thing this wasn’t a bed that had been passed down and you were hoping to keep in the family.”

If you have Hospice, they do provide a hospital bed. It might be something for you to consider.

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