Keeping Hospice Patients Connected
There are important steps to ensure that a hospice patient can continue to be a part of the conversation and to improve the quality of care. The first step, however, is establishing if there is a hearing loss in the first place. And for that, the family first needs to communicate with the staff in order to make the patient’s needs known. Once the presence of hearing loss is established, here are a few tips to help caregivers and family members help their loved ones:
- – Be sure hearing aids are cleaned and in working order.
- – Hearing aids should be used as much as possible.
- – A hearing third party support person should be present to help with understanding and remembering any medical information presented.
- – Caregivers should ask if the patient has heard and understood what was said, and to repeat it back.
- – Get the patient’s attention prior to speaking.
- – If possible, position yourself at eye level with the patient when speaking.
- – Speak clearly, but do not shout.
- – Keep a dry erase board or a pen and pad at the patient’s bedside to augment communications.
- – Have the patient wear their glasses so they can see you speak.
- – Reduce or eliminate distracting background noises before speaking.
- – Remember that individuals in the end stages of life, especially those with hearing loss, can find certain sounds, such as a blaring television, irritating. Make sure to communicate with them regarding their wishes with respect to noise level.