“Being” at the Hospice Bedside
By Marygrace Lomboy-
I sometimes have to remind myself that not every moment at the bedside means “doing” something for my patient approaching end of life. Having worked as a nurse for many years, I finally understand that “being with” is just as important as the “doing for”. It is so important to just “be” at the bedside with your loved one. Those times are the most precious that you will stay with you. Many opportunities to share may be missed if we busy ourselves and not pause to spend some quality time with our loved one.
Here are some tips on how to just “Be” at the bedside…
- If your loved one can no longer respond verbally, you should still talk softly to them, as they still may hear you.
- Avoid talking “about” your loved one as if they are not present. Even if they are not responsive, try to include them as part of the conversation.
- Avoid loud noises, excessive external stimuli or other distractions. This may cause your loved one to become anxious.
- Gentle touch to let your loved one know you are present. Recognize that sometimes physical touch may cause distress.
- Slip your hand under your loved one’s hand with your palm up. This will allow your loved one to hold your hand without causing any stress in joints or position.
- Play soft soothing music which can enhance a calm environment for you and your loved one.
- Feel free to share favorite memories with your loved one, read a book, or pray quietly.
- If your loved one is reporting seeing loved ones who have dies, allow them to talk openly about their experience. Be accepting of what they are experiencing.
- Be open – many opportunities for growth, peace and healing may be unfolded. Leave nothing unsaid that you feel is important for bringing you and your loved one peace and comfort. Often, saying “goodbye” can be an important part of closure for you and your loved one.
Remember that it’s OK to just “be” and be quiet. A calm presence is such a beautiful gift for your loved one.