It’s not easy seeing a person in pain. It’s even more distressing when this person is your loved one. Making the decision to care for a sick person at home is a noble one. But it doesn’t come easy. A terminally ill person will display signs of discomfort. If you’re a first-time caregiver, you may be witnessing these changes and asking yourself, “what should I do?” “How can I help them?”
Dying At Home created a “free medicine” booklet to help alleviate this stress. Read on to discover six free ways you can help a sick person feel a little more comfortable.
1. Alleviating Confusion
Depending on the type and stage of a person’s illness, they may experience confusion when they return home. Even if they’ve been home for a while, they may occasionally lose awareness of their surroundings. When a person is confused, touch them and softly reassure them. Answer their questions about who is present and where they are. You may want to remind them of happier memories if they become distressed.
2. Help with Coughing
It’s normal for a sick person to cough. Their cough may sound different depending on what they’re suffering from. Some patients at home may have a wet cough that almost sounds rattly. If they’re struggling to get rid of mucus, try helping them along with their cough by massaging them with your hands. If they have a dry cough, try sitting them upright and give them a warm towel or drink for their tight chest.
3. Aiding with Dehydration
Dehydration can quickly exacerbate other symptoms. It’s important to keep hydrated. Especially since it may not always be obvious that it’s happening. Check for any dark circles or slowness. If you suspect a patient is dehydrated, instruct that they take small sips of water regularly. Be sure to supply clean water, and boil it if you have to.
4. Treating Diarrhoea
If left untreated, chronic diarrhoea can make a person feel miserable. It can also exacerbate dehydration. Make sure they have access to fresh, clean water so they can sip it throughout the day. Weak tea or chicken broth can also help provide some needed nutrients while hydrating your patient. It’s important to also keep up with bedding changes to ensure they’re in a clean environment.
On the flip side, constipation is another common problem among people battling illnesses. Normal digestion may be stalled as a person largely remains bedbound. Ensure they’re drinking water regularly as well as eating nutritious fruits like papaya and bananas. The increase in hydration will help them become more regular.
6. Soothing Headaches
Headaches are a common occurrence, but they can be debilitating. If your patient has a throbbing head, there are a few ways you can help. Massages are impactful. Stand behind them and rub their neck. Move up to their temples and massage them too. As they lie down to rest their eyes, ensure that their head is in a comfortable spot.
No one wants to see a person in pain and have no idea how to help. We’re here to help. Dying At Home’s free medicine booklet helps address common care techniques for caregivers. Click here to download our Free Medicines Booklet!