Caring for a dear friend at home....

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    I have a friend in her 80's that I have known since I was an infant. I am sure at one point she changed my diapers and now it is my turn to return the favor.

    She is in renal failure and liver failure. She has been given an expiration of 2 weeks about a week ago. She barely eats anything anymore and she has said she is ready to die. She is refusing oxygen, she fears it will prolong her life. She has begun to itch. At present she is not on any Roxanol. She suffers from nausea.

    She is coming home today and I want to make sure I do everything for her that I can and offer suggestions to her other caregivers as well. She will be cared for by loved ones round the clock. Hospice is coming today and I will ask this of them as well but you have such wonderful informative threads on this forums I thought I would as here as well. I have been a nurse over 6 years but not in this field. This is my plan:

    Turn and prop q2 hours
    Washing and Eucerin to itchy areas
    Protective cream to her bottom when incontinent.
    Toileting PRN and q2 hours or more when she becomes unresponsive and incontinent.
    Bed bath in AM and cleansing as needed throughout the day.

    Its the weekend, I do not know what meds she is on yet or if I can get them filled today. I'm so worried that she will become agitated and I will have nothing to offer her. We can already see mental status changes in her that lead toward agitated and mean.

    What else can we do for her to keep her comfortable? Thank you so much for your input.
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    If you have hospice nurses coming in to do her cares, my feeling is that you have the most important role of all, which is to be of emotional comfort to her. No outside health care worker can do that.

    And so my suggestion would be to let the nurses fill the role of taking care of her physical and medical needs, and you can help fill in any gaps that may come up in that area.

    But your role is the most important: to hold her hand, talk to her about past experiences, share stories, allow her to express any fears and concerns she has, and validate those, let her talk them out. If she's angry let her be angry, let her talk it through, or cry or shout, and let her know she is safe and that she will be with people who love her until the very end, and even after, and pray with her if that is something she wants.

    I would suggest that you also help out with chores around the house so her family members don't have to think about that.

    I'm sorry about this but it is comforting to know that your friend has someone by her side who loves her so much. I hope that we can all be so lucky.


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