When someone is quite elderly or has suffered from a disease for a long time, the need for hospice care becomes clear. Hospice is medical care for an individual whom medical professionals do not expect to live for much longer than six months. Curing the condition is no longer possible or desired, so medical professionals and the individual’s family and friends attempt to make their remaining time as comfortable as possible.

Sometimes, the person needs to go to a hospital or other facility, but often, hospice occurs in the comfort of an individual’s home. Before that can happen, however, their caregivers must outfit the space for the task. Beyond the nitty-gritty of arranging for health services with medical personnel, here are four tips for setting up hospice care at home.

Hospice In Home
Photo by Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash

Set Up a Hospice Room

The first thing to do is to make a space where the patient can be comfortable and feel at home. Caregivers should consider the need for a hospital bed at home (or other adjustable bedding) as well as any medical equipment and make space for the equipment they choose. Clear a closet for storing ambulatory equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, and the like. If the patient is unable to move very far, an in-room commode may be beneficial. Create a discrete space for this where the person can relieve themselves in privacy or with any necessary help. Ensure they have a view outside and provide entertainment options such as a TV set or radio.

Accessibility Is Key

Look around and see what you need to do to make using equipment easier and safer to access. Install safety bars in the bathroom, around the toilet and bath, and add a chair to the shower area. Throughout the house, remove hazards and obstacles. Remove rugs—they can cause people who are less sure on their feet to trip. Add nightlights to dark areas, especially along the path between the bathroom and bedroom. While you’re at it, widen spaces between furniture to make it easier to navigate living spaces, whether on foot or in a wheelchair.

Personalize and Familiarize

A hospice patient’s room doesn’t have to look like a hospital room. Make sure the person can see and access family photos and favorite possessions. Keep the room bright and cheery by day and calm and soothing when it’s time to sleep. Arrange for visits from family and friends when your loved one or patient is up for it. Local houses of worship may also offer volunteers who can run errands, provide companionship, and help the individual feel safer. If they desire, arrange for visits by a chaplain or social worker to provide counseling and emotional and spiritual support.

Keep Communicating

While respecting their occasional need to be alone, don’t forget to keep the lines of communication open. Let them know this is a safe space where they can share their worries, fears, and anything else. Engage in conversation and incorporate family projects where they can help leave something behind for future generations. Family history, identifying people in photos, and recording them sharing skills and talents creates a positive experience for them and their loved ones.Those are just four tips for setting up hospice care at home. Ask your medical team for other suggestions to make their final years happy ones.