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When you and your spouse have exhausted every possible treatment to cure your spouse's illness, but the treatments still cannot prevent your spouse's early death, then you may begin looking at hospice care. Hospice care can occur in a hospital, at a nursing facility or at home. If you are considering hospice care at home, you may need both a lot of room and numerous supplies to make your spouse comfortable. The following list will help you decide if this is the right decision for you, your spouse and your home (since you may need to make some modifications to accommodate supplies and equipment).
Treatments for blood disorders and cancers can weaken a person so much that climbing a flight of stairs, getting out of bed or just walking to the bathroom takes monumental effort. When your spouse experiences both pain and weakness in the end stages of his or her illness, a hospital bed may be the best option. It can help him or her stay involved with the world around him/her, since the bed can be lifted, lowered, and altered to help your spouse get to a sitting position or relaxed and laying position more easily than a traditional bed. A hospital bed will need a lot more room, and you may need to put it on the first floor in the living or family room so that emergency responders can get to your spouse faster. This may mean clearing the room of furniture to accommodate the bed and other equipment and supplies, like an IV drip or vitals monitor.
The machine that monitors your spouse's heart rate, oxygen levels and respirations is a vital piece of equipment, especially during the night when you are asleep and would not know that anything out of the ordinary has occurred. It also provides an accurate record for your spouse's doctors, who can keep track of your spouse's condition remotely via printouts of the vitals on the machine. Because you will definitely need this machine as part of your spouse's hospice care at home, make sure you have an extra foot or two of space near the hospital bed for it.
IV Drips and Tube Feeders
As it becomes more difficult for your spouse to take in fluids and nutrition, an IV drip and/or a tube feeding station may be needed. The visiting or live-in nurses that will provide care for your spouse will insert the IV and the feeding tubes as needed. The nurses will also monitor these machines. The machines themselves will require an additional two or three feet to either side of the hospital bed, so you will have to clear the room enough to accommodate these machines when they are needed. Your spouse's medicines may also be administered via IV (e.g., pain medications) or pulverized and suspended in water so that they can be administered through the feeding tube; hence, plan to make room for these machines even if your spouse does not need them yet.