A diagnosis of cancer is devastating, not for the person receiving the diagnosis but for their family members, friends, and other loved ones. It’s a life-changing event that fundamentally alters the circumstances in which people suddenly find themselves.
This might imply assisting them at home while going through typical cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, or assisting with their care if they become bedridden. Whatever the case may be, here are some pointers on things to think about while caring for a bedridden patient.
1. Watch Their Hygiene
One of the most important things to think about when caring for a bedridden patient is hygiene. Depending on the severity of their condition, they may be unable to bathe or use the restroom on their own. Unfortunately, it will be up to you to help them with these activities.
This can be difficult for some people to do, but it’s important to remember that they are helpless and that you are doing this for their good. Be sure to use gloves when helping them with any hygiene activity, as you don’t want to risk getting sick yourself. Bed pads are a must, maybe even an electric lift chair, to make getting in and out of bed easier for you and the patient.
Another critical aspect of maintaining their hygiene is making sure that their bedding is clean. This means changing their sheets and pillowcases often and any other blankets or clothing that they may have on their bed.
Bedsores are a real danger for bedridden patients. These sores are caused by the constant pressure of lying in one position for too long, which can be very painful. Be sure to frequently change your loved one’s position to avoid these sores from forming.
The best way to do this is to use a turning schedule, where you turn them every two hours or so. This will help distribute the pressure more evenly and prevent sores from forming. You can also use pillows to prop up different body parts, such as their head, shoulders, and hips.
If your loved one does develop bedsores, be sure to clean them regularly and keep them covered. You should also notify their doctor, as they may need special treatment.
3. Prevent Dehydration
Another danger of being bedridden is dehydration. It’s essential to make sure that your loved one is getting enough fluids, even if they cannot drink independently. There are many ways to do this, such as using a syringe or a feeding tube.
You can also give them ice chips to suck on or popsicles to eat. These will help keep them hydrated and give them something to look forward to. Just be sure not to provide them with anything with caffeine, which can dehydrate them further.
In addition to giving them fluids, you should also make sure that they are getting enough water. This can be done by placing a humidifier in their room or running a cool-mist vaporizer. These will help to keep the air moist and will prevent dehydration.
4. Ensure That They Are Eating Enough
Another danger of being bedridden is that they may not be able to eat enough. This can lead to weight loss and malnutrition, which can be very dangerous. Be sure to give them small, frequent meals that are easy to digest.
You can also give them supplements if they have trouble getting enough nutrients. These can be in the form of shakes or bars, and they will help make sure that they are getting everything they need. Be sure to monitor their weight and notify their doctor if there is any significant change.
5. Pain Management
Keeping your loved ones comfortable, including managing their pain, is essential. Depending on the severity of their condition, they may be in a lot of pain. Be sure to talk to their doctor about the best way to manage this pain.
Many different options are available, such as medication, acupuncture, massage, and heat therapy. Be sure to find something that works for your loved ones and doesn’t worsen their condition.
6. Provide Emotional Support
Finally, it’s crucial to provide emotional support for your loved one. This can be difficult for them, and they may feel scared or alone. So be sure to spend time with them and listen to anything they want to talk about.
You can also bring them books, magazines, or movies that they can watch. These will help to take their minds off of their condition and provide them with some entertainment.