An update: I researched this question for “expert” advice. While I found a lot of information, there was very little about challenges presented by people who come to visit the Hospice patient. That’s interesting because guests have been an issue (good and bad) in almost every Hospice situation I’m familiar with.
Here’s my number one piece of advice: Don’t be a swooper! A swooper is someone who comes in and, with the best of intentions, starts giving advice and even changing things up. This is not helpful and is often a terrible burden for the caregiver who must undo what the swooper has done. It can also upset the patient who starts to question their care. JUST DON’T DO IT!
I also found some solid advice at http://www.hospicenet.org/ An example is below.
Here are six steps you can take to be an effective caregiver:
- Work and communicate effectively with the patient.
- Support the patient’s spiritual concerns.
- Help to resolve the patient’s unfinished business.
- Work with health professionals.
- Work with family and friends.
- Take care of your own needs and feelings.
Original Post from Friday: This week’s question for my visitors to respond to comes from Dee in Virginia, and is one I can relate to after having my mother as a Hospice patient in our home. As my family was going through this difficult time, hearing the wisdom of others would have been such a gift. I am grateful to Dee for giving me the chance to offer that solace to others. I look forward to your comments.
“I would love to hear your thoughts on guests that come to visit a family member who is in hospice at your home and stay to ‘help’ and wish to spend precious time with the patient. Godsend or nightmare? Advice on walking that fine line on being accommodating to relatives and taking care of yourself. Thanks”