At its heart, hospice care is firmly focused on the quality of a person’s life. It’s about comfort, and spending time with family and friends can be a tremendous source of comfort for everyone involved. However, many people are reluctant to arrive for a visit empty-handed. While pleasant time together is often the best gift you can give, the urge to bring something physical can be strong. Are you struggling with what to bring someone in hospice?
What to Bring Someone in Hospice
Hospice care isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Guided by the goal of providing invaluable support and comfort during a challenging period, it is a form of health care that is tailored to fit the wants, needs, and circumstances of the individual patient and their family. Therefore, it takes many shapes and sizes.
Hospice looks different for each person and family. Hospice services are available in any place a person calls home, whether that is the home they have lived in for years, an assisted living or a long-term care facility. Often times, people think of hospice being only for older adults but hospice is there to help anyone who is facing a life-limiting illness and wants to focus on quality of life instead of quantity of life. Some people are alert and eager to visit, while others need gentler interactions. With so many variables, it can be difficult to know what to do. However, there’s no reason to let this uncertainty unsettle you when trying to decide what to bring someone in hospice. If you’re worried about whether the gift that you have in mind is appropriate, check with the patient’s caregivers before your visit.
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What should you bring someone in hospice?
Photographs are a great way to spark conversations and bring warm memories to the fore. Bringing images of loved ones, cherished pets, favorite places, or special moments can provide a point of connection and brighten up the person’s space. You could bring a photo album to page through during your visit or a few favorite snapshots to leave beside the bed. Digital frames that offer slideshows of multiple images can be an especially thoughtful gift. While they require little physical space, they provide plenty of entertainment and enjoyment.
People on hospice often appreciate gifts of sweet treats and favorite comfort foods. For starters, they can enjoy the sensory pleasure of the foods and the memories they trigger. In addition, socializing often involves sharing food, so having something to offer their visitors can bring pleasure to those receiving hospice care. However, some patients have digestive issues or dietary restrictions, so it is always wise to ask about any food gifts before bringing them.
Music is widely recognized for its ability to boost people’s moods and reduce anxiety and depression. It engages the brain and stimulates emotions, and it can be enjoyed even by patients who lack the energy to actively engage with the world around them. As an added bonus, playing recordings of favorite songs softly as a sort of background noise can drown out unaccustomed sounds and make a space seem more comfortable and familiar.
Books or Magazines
For book lovers, reading provides escape and mental stimulation, so it’s no wonder that books and magazines can be great gifts for hospice patients and their caregivers. These materials provide peaceful entertainment for the patient while they’re alone. When quiet moments are best, reading these materials can also giving those visiting a simple, undemanding way to keep the patient company.
Watching a movie together is another undemanding way to enjoy each other’s company. There’s no need to worry about saying the wrong thing or failing to react in the proper manner when you’re relaxing together while enjoying a favorite film or television show.
Items like flowers, plants, balloons, and stuffed animals can bring a smile and add personality and style to a room. However, if the person has allergies or respiratory issues, it is best to avoid flowers and plants. Space is another concern to weigh before bringing any decorative gift. If space is limited, it might be better to choose a more practical gift.
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A chance to connect with loved ones is an invaluable gift for a person on hospice. While visiting yourself can be a welcome present, making it possible for the patient to connect with others can bring even more pleasure. How do you give the gift of connections? You could bring well wishes from people who care but are unable to visit in the form of greeting cards or gifts. Technology can also come in handy. Bringing in your laptop or tablet and helping the patient connect via Skype with family members who live too far away to visit easily can be a fantastic way to brighten their day. In addition, consider asking other people (like your partner, children, or siblings) to join you in visiting the hospice patient.
At Phoenix Home Care & Hospice, we understand the value of knowledgeable, compassionate care. That’s why we’re so committed to providing top-quality services to those we serve. To learn more about our hospice services, contact us today.