Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Bridging the 'Comfort' Gap . . .

There are many people who find entering hospitals or visiting individuals in hospitals extremely difficult. Often the individuals who can cope find this issue a difficult one to understand and on occasions consider this issue a petty one

However, there are many good and totally genuine reasons why this is a difficult area for some of which can be read below  . . .

  • A past experience or Memory
  • A past experience of the loss of a loved one
  • The fear of catching a bug
  • The smell of hospitals 
  • The genuine fear of hospitals in the first place
  • Some individuals, as someone put it to us, just 'Can't cope with ill health'
The above reasons can cause much anxiety in the individuals who have this type of an issue of hospitals and we should, where possible, try our hardest to understand this, no matter how ill their friend or patient is. 

This type of a problem can therefore mean, for the patient, and their families who perhaps do not live so close to hand, that there is often a time gap before the ' next of kin' or Members of the family can get up or down to see their ailing relative.

We all know that for some, if we feel ill it can be extremely comforting to just have a 'known face' their holding out a reassuring hand when going through moments of 'fear of the unknown or of what lies ahead'. However, it can also be reassuring for the travelling Members of the family to know that some one / a known face (to the patient) is with their elderly Father/Mother/Relative / close friend.

As our final hours are closing in on us the Nursing staff and with the pressures they are under at the moment,  can be extremely busy monitoring our health and the surrounding patients health issues that by having someone sitting there quietly can also be a help to them as well as a major comfort for the ailing patient. It means the 'sufferer ' can experience a little bit (it is suggested you ask a Member of Staff if it is okay for you to do the following first) of extra tlc albeit . . .

  • A stroke on the forehead
  • A little bit of soft moisturizer put on the patients dry skin
  • A feeling of reassurance from the recognition of a known and an acceptable (to them) individual
  • Their forehead being wiped with a warm damp cloth
  • A gentle dab of water on the lips or even  a wee bit of vaseline /  oxygen masks can really dry up the skin
  • A warm damp cloth to get rid of little bits of 'sleep' around their eyes or nose
  • A gentle brush of their hair
  • A warm, reassuring caring hand and  voice
  • Can be given time, that often Nurses don't have time to do, to be made respectable for their families who may be travelling up to visit their ailing relative
to mention just a few.

Naturally it is best to ask the Members of the family and  the Hospital if they are happy with this offer of  support. If you find the Hospital is not then you can  ask the Next of Kin or Nearest Member of  the family to speak to the hospital  requesting that they allow you to stand in until they arrive. 

If you can cope with this, and know or discover anyone who is suddenly taken in to hospital, please, on behalf of the sufferer, Members of the family please ask if you could stay and  comfort the patient.

It is suggested you respect requests from Staff to vacate the room - they may need to carry out medical procedures or body washes.

Things to take in your bag 

  • Vaseline
  • A tube of 'sensitive moisturizer' or the patients chosen brand of cream
  • A flannel / face cloth
  • A soft brush
  • A bottle of water for yourself although you will often be asked if you would like a cup of tea
  • Perhaps something that can play some quiet soothing music
  • Don't talk too much
  • If they are having a doze then sit at side where you wont  disturb them
  • Be next to them when they stir and offer them a few quiet comforting words
  • They may only be able to communicate by the rise of a  laughter line, a wink, or a finger movement - take all these signs as positive and respond accordingly
  • It doesn't matter how deep a sleep they are in, it is our belief that voices can still be heard in the recesses of their minds - so PLEASE do not think they can not hear you.
  • If Members of the family arrive, quietly go in to the background unless they need you there, and go home leaving a note to say 'you can contacted anytime and that you would be happy to cover for them when ever may be needed.
We may well add more to this but please, be there for someone if you can - it will mean so much to them and be a comfort to their families to know that some one is there for the one that they love.

On behalf of many who have ended up with their pride and  dignity taken away or who had no-one there to comfort them towards the next stage or towards the last few stitches of their 'TAPESTRY OF LIFE'


Please feel free to add additional comments that can help at what can be a very difficult time for many. 

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