It’s not always easy to visit a friend or family member in hospice care. Grief, uncertainty, and difficult conversations can hang over your interactions and make the experience awkward for everyone. A successful visit, however, can cheer up your loved one and create wonderful memories. How do you make the most of your time together during visits? It helps to be prepared. Here’s what to do before visiting a loved one in hospice.
Plan Ahead—Even on the Day of
Days in hospice care have their ups and downs. A patient might be alert and cheerful one day but lethargic and unresponsive the next. You also have to consider daily routines like taking medications or eating meals. Disrupting these routines might cause more stress than necessary during your visit. One of the most important things to do before visiting a loved one in hospice is to coordinate with them and their primary caregiver to find a visit time that works for everyone. On the day of your visit, call ahead to make sure that time still works. If your loved one didn’t get much sleep the night before or is having a rough day for any reason, they might want to reschedule for a better time.
Know What To Expect
When you visit a loved one in hospice care, you might see lots of medical equipment or watch them struggle with basic tasks. While it might not be easy seeing your loved one like this, knowing what to expect will help you stay calm and make the visit comfortable. If you’re visiting with others, make sure they’re on the same page as well. Learn how to talk to kids about hospice care so they know what to expect when they walk into the room. A little preparation can help you be a warm and steadfast presence for your loved one.
Make the Visit Comfortable
It’s hard to know what to do with yourself during a hospice visit. Do your best to get comfortable. Sit down with your loved one, take your coat off, and spend a while at their side. Let your loved one steer the conversation. Keep in mind that there might not always be something to talk about. Quiet moments are perfectly normal. You can learn to simply enjoy each other’s presence. If you want something to do, bring a simple card game, a puzzle, or other light activity to do together. The more comfortable you are, the more comfort you will bring to your loved one.