Essential Palliative Care Tips

You can offer the best support to a person who needs palliative care by obtaining the right information and relevant resources. Palliative care involves knowing the questions to ask, when to ask, who to ask and most importantly how to look after the patient.

Ensure that you are giving the right medicine at the right time. Always double-check the label on containers before administering medication. Your healthcare provider can provide detailed information on how to administer medication and the dosage. Carefully follow the instructions for administering the medication to the latter. Consult your physician or doctor if unsure.

Consider using a dosette box if there are many tablets to be taken. The dosette box allows tablets to be stored in special partitions so that it is easy to remember which one needs to be given to a patient and when. You can buy one in your nearest drug store. In addition, learn more on safe disposal techniques for syringes and needles.

Store all medication in a cool, dry place. If the patient finds it difficult to swallow certain medications, crash the tablets and encourage him to take them with water or food. However, consult your doctor first because some medications should not be crashed.

Palliative care may involve administering strong or addictive pain medication such as morphine. This drug should be carefully administered because it may lead to addiction or even death in case of an overdose. Your doctor or physician should guide you on safe administration of painkillers and potentially addictive medication.

When administered in the right dosage, morphine can help improve appetite and boost the patient’s strength. Patients who are unable to take medications orally due to complications can be given injections instead. This may be administered by you or your doctor.

Providing hygiene care
Hygiene care may be offered in several ways. Generally, it involves helping the patient complete basic routines like taking a shower or bed bath, and washing hands before eating. You might also need to move them from the bed to the toilet. A nurse can guide you on how to do this.

Practical care
Consider having rails installed in the bathroom to enhance safety and mobility. You can even buy a portable shower or bath chair so that the patient does not have to stand. A hand held shower could also come in handy. It is quite common for patients to lose control of their bowels. You may have to support the patient when he goes to the bathroom and help clean them thereafter.

Assisting with eating and drinking
Many patients with severe illnesses lack appetite. Caring for such patients involve assisting and encouraging them to eat and drink.
• Give them smaller but more regular servings of semi-solid or liquid foods and refreshments

• Give the patient the types of food that they seem to have an affinity for

• Offer nutritious foods including fruit juices

• Ensure you keep the patient’s mouth moist and clean. Cleaning the teeth regularly is also an important part of palliative care