The tenderness of a loved one’s touch can do so much to help a person who is struggling with the basics of daily living. It’s not difficult to ease these discomforts. You just need a bit of knowledge. Below is a list of common “home remedies” to assist you in your caring.
You might also want to talk with your doctor about getting a “palliative care consult.” This involves a visit with a medical provider who specializes in methods to relieve distress. Their focus is on quality of life. They strive to make the patient’s day-to-day experience as positive as it can be. You continue on with your regular doctor. But with a consult, you also receive medical advice for handling things like uncomfortable symptoms, anxiety, depression, or difficult side effects of treatment.
Everyone feels better after a bath! Being clean enhances self esteem and reduces odors and chances of infection. If the patient can still walk to the bathroom, a stool in the tub and a handheld shower provide helpful and safe ways to get clean and enjoy a change of pace. As the patient’s skin becomes more delicate, you may want to use only mild soaps or no soaps and after a bath apply lotion to moisturize the skin. Fresh clean clothes and a bed with new linens are a wonderful way to top off the experience.
If the patient can no longer manage a trip to the bathtub or in the case of dementia finds bathing a frightening experience, then a sponge bath in the bed does just as well. The face, armpits, genitals, and rectal area are the most important to bathe. Vigorous scrubbing is not necessary, nor is a lot of soap and water. (Due to concerns about pressure sores, it is especially important to reduce the likelihood of getting the bedding wet.) If you really want to use soap, consider using mild liquid soaps that do not require rinsing. Be sure the room is warm and that the patient is kept covered with dry towels; only expose those areas you are cleaning at the moment.
A patient may be in danger of getting bedsores, also called “pressure ulcers,” especially if he or she is confined to bed for most of the day and night. They are red, painful, blister-like areas that can crack and bleed. They tend to occur in bony places of the body (hips, elbows, shoulders, head, heels, and tailbone) where constant pressure against the bed can cut off the flow of blood and cause the skin to break down. If the skin surface is broken, call the doctor or nurse and learn how to best protect the wound from infection. You can prevent bedsores by following these routines:
Make sure the patient’s skin, bedding, and clothes are clean and dry. Remove wet bedding or clothes immediately.
Make sure the bottom sheet is pulled tight and that all crumbs and wrinkles are removed from the bed.
Turn the patient to a new position every two hours to alleviate pressure in any one spot. Encourage the patient to get out of bed and sit up in a chair if he or she is able to do so.
If the patient is entirely bedbound, keep his or her position at no more than a 30 degree angle.
Consider the use of a pressure redistribution mattress. This is designed specifically to reduce the likelihood of bed sores. Contact a medical supply store to see what they have available.
At some point in a serious illness, most patients will lose control of their bladders.
It is sometimes possible to avoid accidents by having the patient use the bathroom frequently, before the bladder gets uncomfortably full. Setting an alarm clock to ring every hour or two is a useful reminder. If this strategy doesn’t work and the patient is generally homebound, you might consider having a tube (called a “Foley catheter” or “Foley”) placed in the bladder by a home care or hospice nurse. The catheter will drain into a bag that is hooked to the bed or a chair and can be easily drained several times a day. Some patients find it liberating to be relieved of the anxiety of accidents. Others are uncomfortable with this solution.
If preferred, an adult “diaper” can be worn, or super-absorbent pads can be placed within regular or specially fitted underwear. If you choose to use diapers or pads, be sure the genital and rectal areas are kept clean and dry so they do not become irritated and develop a rash. To maintain the patient’s dignity, caregivers might refer to the diaper as “protective panties or undergarments.”
As the end of life approaches, organs begin to shut down. This includes the kidneys, which produce urine. Caregivers will notice a decrease in the amount of the patient’s urine. It will be darker in color and have a stronger odor. This change is a normal part of the process.
Constipation is a frequent side effect of many medications, especially those that are used to reduce pain. It can also be caused by decreased activity, not drinking enough fluids, or not eating enough fiber. You should call the doctor if the patient has been eating regularly but goes for several days without a bowel movement or if the constipation is accompanied by severe pain in the abdomen or by vomiting. Simple ways to prevent or reduce constipation are:
Provide a diet high in fiber, assuming the doctor has not ordered otherwise. High-fiber foods include vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grain breads and cereals, and dried fruits and nuts.
Be sure the patient drinks six to eight glasses of water a day.
Stimulate the bowels by taking the patient for walks or by helping the patient jog in place or do sit-ups.
Provide prune juice or black tea or coffee.
Ask your doctor about laxatives and stool softeners. If the dosage of pain medications has been increased, you may also have to increase medications for constipation.
The side effects of dehydration caused by losing a lot of fluid (e.g., fatigue, confusion, bed sores) are some of the more debilitating aspects of diarrhea. You can prevent or reduce diarrhea and dehydration by doing the following:
Have the patient drink plenty of clear liquids (e.g., water, juice, and broth), especially between meals.
Serve foods that are low in fiber and high in potassium and protein (e.g., rice, bananas, eggs, toast, crackers, applesauce, mashed potatoes).
Avoid serving the patient spicy or fried foods and most milk products (although some people respond well to yogurt).
Reduce or eliminate caffeine from the patient’s diet (e.g., coffee, black tea, chocolate, and many kinds of sodas).
Talk to your doctor about medications that can help firm the stool.
All of us have experienced the fatigue of inadequate rest, but fatigue that accompanies serious illness is altogether different. Certainly getting enough rest is important, but with this kind of fatigue no amount of sleep will provide a complete resurgence of energy. In addition to being tired as a result of fighting the disease, the person you care for may be fatigued because of depression, inability to eat, lack of movement/exercise, or side effects from treatments or medications. Although restoring complete vigor may not be possible, the following may help alleviate some of his or her weariness:
Appropriate physical activity (e.g., walking, stretching, getting up out of bed and sitting in a chair). Depending on the severity of the person’s condition, too much bed rest can cause fatigue!
Adjustments in medication/therapies, including the scheduling of treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Blood transfusions or medications to offset anemia (appropriate if the person has a low red blood cell count).
Increased fluid intake, unless the doctor has ordered otherwise. Dehydration and low blood pressure can contribute to feelings of weariness and fatigue.
Reducing noise and clutter. This strategy can help reduce mental fatigue for a person who is already struggling with many physical and emotional challenges.
Antidepressants, stress-reduction techniques, and/or counseling. These methods can relieve any emotional concerns that may be contributing to lack of energy.
Pacing activities appropriately. Restrict activities to those that the patient absolutely must do and to those that give the most pleasure. Don’t schedule too many in a day, and try to schedule them at times when the patient typically has the most energy.
Adequate sleep at regular times. Unless the patient is quite advanced in the illness, it might help if he or she takes naps only in the morning and early afternoon rather than late in the day when they could interfere with night sleeping.
“Dry mouth” is a common and uncomfortable side effect of many medications. If the patient complains of this symptom, talk to your doctor about ways to offset this condition. A change in medication or a reduction in the dosage could help. Ice chips or sucking on a damp or wet cloth can be soothing. Lip balms or olive oil can help keep lips moisturized and prevent cracking.
Keeping the mouth clean and fresh does a lot to help the patient feel comfortable. If brushing his or her teeth is difficult, you might try an electric toothbrush or just wiping the teeth with a damp cloth if his or her mouth is too tender. Pharmacies and medical supply houses carry a product that is a small sponge mounted on a stick, rather like a lollipop. To help with oral hygiene, you can dip one of these in water and swish it around in the patient’s mouth. You might choose to avoid toothpastes or alcohol-based mouthwashes because they may be too strong and contribute to “dry mouth.”
Nausea and vomiting, common side effects of cancer treatments, can be distressing for both the patient and caregiver. Keeping a bowl or basin within the patient’s reach will alleviate distress caused by getting sick and soiling the bed. Placing a towel over the pillow will also help catch any fluids that miss the bowl.
Whether nausea and vomiting are the result of treatments or the disease itself, you can reduce the feelings of nausea and the frequency or likelihood of vomiting by:
asking the doctor to prescribe anti-nausea medicines. These medications often come in suppository form, so you do not run the risk of the patient throwing up the very medicine needed to stop the vomiting.
opening a window for fresh air or using a fan to keep the air circulating.
keeping the room free of strong or unpleasant odors.
offering chewing gum or hard candy. Sometimes chewing on ice chips will help.
providing distractions such as music, television, reading aloud, or other activities.
having the patient slowly sip clear liquids to prevent dehydration.
serving frequent, light meals throughout the day. Don’t force foods if he or she does not want to eat.
avoiding offering fried foods, spicy foods, dairy products, and acidic foods as well as high-fiber foods that are more difficult to digest and may cause gas (e.g., vegetables, beans).
sticking with bland foods and foods high in potassium and protein (e.g., rice, bananas, eggs, toast, crackers, applesauce, mashed potatoes).
When a patient vomits up medicine, do not immediately re-administer the medication. Call your physician and ask about the best policy for the medicines in question. He or she can tell you what to do in the moment and may be able to prescribe a liquid or suppository form that will be better tolerated.
Many people with serious illness experience problems with breathing. First and foremost, consult your physician to find out if there are medications that can help. Or, the patient might benefit from the use of oxygen. You can do a few simple things in addition to the doctor’s recommendations to help a person who is short of breath:
Open windows or use an electric fan.
Change the patient’s position (from lying down to sitting, or from one side to the other).
Address the anxiety that comes with difficult breathing (e.g., use relaxation techniques and guided visualizations).
I really enjoyed my employment with solace hospice. The team of nurse's, CNA's, social workers and chaplain s work amazing together, always working as a team, including the administrative team.Maggie Welsh my supervisor is someone who has an open door policy. If you need to talk, she will drop everything she is doing without hesitation. She offers a listening ear, direction, encouragement and support. She is full of wisdom and loves teaching other's.I cannot begin to tell you how supportive she has been. The integrity she carries and dedication to not only her team but her employees.The owner, Thomas always made time to acknowledge his employees and constantly shows his apprection for each of them. I'm very grateful for the experience I have gained working for solace hospice. It's been a true honor working for this company.Shanna Arias
As an Aging Specialist, a Senior Resource Center and over 20 years experience with Seniors “Solace Hospice” has excelled in comfort care and palliative care! They have been one of our preferred providers for years in Arizona. Their involvement in the Industry, their caring staff and their professional approach is appropriate when families need them most. Costel Roman the Director of Business Relations is the biggest advocate I have met in his Industry. Solace Hospice you are appreciated by thousands of families and Senior Living Communities in Arizona.
We could not be more grateful to Solace Hospice and their staff for taking care of our loved one, even though he was on service a short time. Everyone was so sweet to us and him and were very responsive to our needs and requests. The staff was skilled, informative, and available at any time of the day or night. Most importantly, they care about us. They spend time with us. We laugh together and cry together. We always looked forward to visits. Thank y'all for everything.
I have written only a handful of reviews in my lifetime. I felt this one necessary. I have worked as an employee for Solace Hospice in Phoenix for over a year and a half. The genuine care, respect and compassion for our patients and families is outstanding. Today, our team received a generous gift card from the owner, Thomas, for Thanksgiving. Even more impressive….He and his family stayed up until 3 am cooking a homemade Thanksgiving feast for us. He walked in wearing a suit jacket, sat down and enjoyed the meal along side of us like family with little rest. This is not the first time our owner and management team have gone above and beyond to make us feel appreciated or to help out in difficult times. Thank you! Our office staff does an amazing job of multitasking behind the scenes and I truly wonder how they get it all done. Our Executive Director, Maggie, (whom I’ve nicknamed work horse) is an exceptionally hard worker whom won’t ask for a thing she wouldn’t do herself and more often does so without asking at all. She is intelligent, kind, fair and very supportive. She wears many hats well and makes it look easy. Our nursing staff is incredibly competent, compassionate and juggle the day to day challenges well. Our CNA’s are some of the hardest workers I have ever had the pleasure of working with and no matter how busy things get, they always manage to get everything done. Our Social worker, Shanna, is a wealth of knowledge and is always willing to help out. Our Chaplains are kind, down to earth, compassionate and funny. Our volunteer coordinator, Barbara, is always smiling, knowledgeable and fun. Our marketer, Costel, bends over backwards to meet the needs of patients and families. I am proud and honored to be a part of such an incredible team and have never enjoyed a job more. Thank you to all of the Solace Hospice Team!
I had a great working experience with Solace Hospice and all of the staff I have encountered, open communication and great quality in their service. The people we worked with so far starting with Costel Roman, the RNs Gina and Heidi and amazing social worker Shana enabled us to continue to work with them and refer Solace Hospice.
Been working with Solace Hospice for over a year and never cease to amaze me! They cater to each individuals needs and go beyond the scope of service. Stephanie, Sammy, Diane and Costel are doing a fantastic job, giving 110% of love and hard work and making sure everything that it’s needed arrives within 24 hours. If you’re looking for a great Hospice give them a chance, they will never disappoint.
I can’t say enough about Solace Hospice. The level of care and attention to personal detail is so much higher than the other hospice company I dealt with. My family recently experienced the loss of our mother followed by our father in fairly close succession. All I can say is thank you Solace and I wish I had discovered you sooner. My mom’s passing was handled by another company. I can tell you they are not the same. Solace operates with a premium degree of care and compassion during such a difficult time
I cannot thank Solace Hospice enough for the amount of love and support they have provided my family with during this hard time. They were attentive, caring, informative and overall extremely experienced in this field.A special thanks to Maggie, Bevery, Katie, Janet, Diana, (just a few of the many) for the help you provided.Thank you all so much!!!Enea
I work with Solace Hospice and they are fantastic. Costel Roman from Solace Hospice is very professional, high ethics and integrity, and also he is respected and well known by the health community in Arizona. Simply put, it's a pleasure to work with Costel - I strongly recommend him!
I would like to express my gratitude to Costel Roman - Director of Business Relation at Solace Hospice, Thomas Fedzin - Owner of Solace Hospice during a difficult time in my life. There is never an easy moment to loose a loved one. Costel Roman and Solace Hospice have helped my mother to go to Heaven and be with the angels peacefully. God bless all of you for being by my side!!!
Solace Hospic is Definitely #1 Hospic in Arizona a team that’s Compassionate towards the needs of not only patients but owners and also caregivers. Costel Roman is so Professional and always gets the job done . Ask him what he can’t do he will tell you what he can do to make the experience working with solace comfortable as possible. Solace will always be my go to Hospic.
I've worked with multiple staff members at Solace Hospice and each and everyone is so incredible passionate about caring for the community. As a wife of a Director of Nursing at an assisted living facility, I hear often about how important great care -- Solace provides great care!
I absolutely LOVE working with Costel and and Beverly!! Costel (AKA Roman) has excellent communication and I value his team immensely! I highly recommend this team if you are looking for a hospice company with great communication skills, friendly faces, and caring hearts!
As a nurse and the owner of several assisted livings, I have had many encounters with different hospices.Solace Hospice has been amazing and has gone above and beyond for my patients and their families! Always helpful, always receptive to the patients needs and always there when needed.Thank you Solace for the outstanding care and dedication your company and your staff provides.
We are so glad and relieved to have met Costel Roman of Solace Hospice.When he came to our assisted living homes and introduced himself he sat with us and explained Solace Hospice’s vision and approach to compassionate high quality care.We were very pleased to hear that residents and families needs are above all else.These past months we worked along side them with a few of our families in our homes .We cannot praise Costel and all of Solace’s staff Enough on the quality of care,professionalism demonstrated and the compassion showed by all of Solace’s staff to the families and our team.We will only recommend a company to our families if we know and experienced first hand that they are among the best in their profession.Congratulations to Solace for putting together an outstanding team. You guys definitely exceeded 5 stars! Luis Pescador.
We were recently reintroduced to Solace Hospice by Costel Roman and Jesse Watson, two of their community liasons, and in the process were impressed with their client-focused service. The biggest selling point for us as a group home is that they were not going to be a hospice that simply stopped fighting for a client and allowed them to die. Many of our residents and their families initially are fearful of the word “hospice” and typically think it means a death sentence. Many of them are not ready to give up the good fight and Solace has been a partner with our home to ensure the resident, their family, and our group homes are all respected and active partners in the continued care and needs of the resident. Everyone from their intake staff, RNs, and CNAs was compassionate, caring, and dutiful in their tasks. Special mention goes to the Nurse assigned to our home, Sabrina. She helped us guide the resident and their family through the difficult process of passing away, and her knowledge and compassion for my resident and her family will never be forgotten. Owning three different group home locations has given me plenty of experience and exposure to many different Hospice companies, but without a doubt, Solace Hospice is one of the best. I can not recommend them enough, whether you be a group home, a family member of a loved one, or someone looking to work at a hospice company. Thank you Costel, your team provided me much peace of mind. I look forward to continue to working with your team.
I cannot begin to describe the gratitude and appreciation my family feels about the experience we had with Solace Hospice. I didn’t know quite what to expect at the time when my father was on your service. My father had such great care! My concerns were quickly relieved. Thank you for the kindness and compassion you have given to us and for the genuine concern for my father and for our family. We sincerely appreciate your tireless effort to care for all your patients and their loved ones, and your eagerness to assist at every turn.
I own 5 assisted living group homes around the Phoenix area. I am always relieved when my residents and their families choose Solace Hospice to help their loved one. I can always rely on Thomas and his staff to take care of my residents. They interact incredibly well with my caregivers and offer assistance 24/7. And they back it up. There have been numerous times when we needed some help from Solace in the middle of the night. Someone from Solace would come out to the home without hesitation and take care of everything. Thank you Thomas for running such a wonderful company!
Great professional help during a hard time. Thank you for making things easier to manage during our time of need. They gave our loved one lots of comfort any time he needed it. Which added relief to me as I knew he was in good hands. Thank you so much Thomas and staff!
As a care coordinator for multiple assisted living homes, I am grateful for the opportunity to have Solace Hospice care for our residents. Working closely with Thomas and his staff Is always a pleasure. All around, a great experience.
Thomas and staff were always friendly and available to help us. We learned so much about our Client’s situations. They are definitely very knowledgeable and confident of what they do to help our clients in our group home meet their needs.