When a loved one is taken to hospital and is nearing their end of life, friends and family around them are left in a whirlwind, struggling to know what to do. Here is a guide of ten things you should know to help make the process just that little bit easier so you can focus on caring for and spending time with your loved one.
1. Have open and honest communication.
Is your loved one completely aware of their condition and situation? Whether they are a husband or wife, sibling, or close family or friend, it’s important to be open and honest with them about what to expect.
Have they communicated about their wishes of end-of-life care and any funeral arrangements? As delicate as it is, this is the time to have those conversations.
It’s also best to have a chat with the healthcare team so everyone is on the same page.
2. Seek support.
It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed, scared, stressed and emotional during this time. It’s important that you take time to look after yourself as well, otherwise how are you supposed to care for your loved one? Seek support from family, friends, or a grief support group. Hospice services should be available at the hospital to provide emotional and spiritual support.
3. Consider palliative care.
Palliative care can provide relief from pain and other symptoms associated with a life-limiting illness, and will give your loved one a bit more comfort, structure and stability in their final days or weeks. Ask the healthcare team about the palliative care options available in your area.
4. Create a comfortable environment.
Nobody likes staying in hospital, so making the hospital room as comfortable and peaceful as possible for your loved one can provide them with some comfort. Bring in any items that will remind them of home or happy memories, such as pictures, music, or a favourite blanket.
5. Be present.
Spend time with your loved one and be present in the moment. Hold their hand, read to them, or simply sit quietly with them.
However, you don’t need to put pressure on yourself to create any final memories. Ask your loved one questions and help engage their mind, but it’s also just fine to sit there with them, whether they are conscious or not.
6. Monitor for any changes in their condition.
Whilst this is mainly the responsibility of the hospital staff, it can be helpful to monitor your loved one's condition for any changes. Keep an eye on their vital signs, such as their blood pressure and temperature, and report any changes to the medical team. You should also watch for any signs of infection, such as fever or redness around the IV site.
Even monitoring how much they’re eating or going to the bathroom can have an affect on their health and wellbeing, so it’s good to monitor and communicate anything to staff if need be.
7. Make end-of-life arrangements.
It might be easier to start making phone calls and arrangements prior to your loved one’s passing. It can be a good time to inquire about costs, process and ultimately what funeral provider you decide to go with, if this hasn’t already been arranged by your loved one.
At Bare, feel free to call us with any questions at any time of day on 1800 071 176. We’re here to help and talk with you, however we won’t need anything from you until your loved one has passed away.
8. Say goodbye.
Saying goodbye is one of the most heartbreaking and painful moments we’ll ever have to go through, but it is incredibly important to be there to do so if you are able to. Take the time to say goodbye to your loved one in your own way. This may include telling them how much you love them, sharing memories, or simply being there for them in their final moments.
9. Take care of yourself.
It’s so hard to focus on yourself when you’re taking care of someone else. Lean on your support system for anything outside of the basics if you are fortunate enough to do so, but eating nutritionally balanced meals, getting enough sleep and taking time out for yourself away from the hospital are all simple ways to take care of yourself.
10. Take time to grieve.
After your loved one has passed away, it’s very easy to jump on autopilot and start trying to plan the funeral right away, which may be a way to avoid the grief.
There is no need to immediately rush into a decision. At Bare, while we take care of the cremation, all you need to focus on is coping with the loss and working through your grief. Pushing your grief away and avoiding it only ends up making it harder down the track. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. It’s extremely difficult watching someone we love pass away, but know you are going to be okay.
At Bare, let us help shoulder the burden of your loved one's passing. If you're in need of a cremation, please give us a call on 1800 071 176 or head here to learn more.