In the palliative care books, Integrating a Palliative Approach: Essentials for Personal Support Workers, and Essentials in Hospice and Palliative Care: A Practical Resource for Every Nurse, I use the image of a comfort basket to refer to non-pharmacological (non-medicinal) items that can help promote comfort and provide support when caring for a person who is unwell, and when supporting family members and other caregivers. The motto for the comfort basket is to
Respect the individual and individualize the care
The COVID-19 global crisis is stressful for professional and family caregivers. Fears of infection, lack of personal protective equipment, concerns about food shortages (and toilet paper shortages) combined with stress related to social distancing and quarantining are causing many to feel anxious.
One way to help manage stress and anxiety is through self-care.
A comfort basket can be filled with items for self-care. When a person engages in activities that bring them peace, calm, and a sense of being cared-for and of not being alone, their stress and anxiety diminishes.
I would like to dedicate this post to the family and friends whose loved ones are ill with COVID-19 and those whose loved ones are in care and they may not be able to provide care or see them.
Ways to support family and friends during COVID-19
Consider providing certificates and coupons for:
- Online music services
- Online meditation, guided imagery, yoga resources and courses…. and perhaps support to help access on the caregivers’ computer or mobile device
- Gift certificate for meals (take out, delivery or meals that you make for their freezer)
- Gift certificate for extra hours of caregiver services from an agency or private caregivers
- Coupon to help with household work and activities for a specified time period, e.g., walk the dog daily for one week, or take the garbage out for one month, or mow the lawn 5 times, or do two hours of errands
- A group of fabulous teenagers to come and sing to them for half an hour.
The key is to provide items or services that give comfort to the person
Consider creating a comfort basket for the caregivers and family that could ease their anxiety and bring them comfort. Items to consider are:
- Hand cream, massage cream
- Bath bombs
- Heating bags
- Gel booties or gloves
- Foot roller
- Eye pillow
- Journal & pen, coloured pens, tools for creative expression
- Books to soothe the soul – choose topics that interest the person the book is for.
- Mug with special teas, e.g., camomile, mint; hot cocoa, plus cookies or other delicious treat
- Candles, candle holder
- TV subscription to access a wider range of entertainment, e.g., Apple TV, Acorn TV, Amazon Video, Netflix, PBS
- Noise-cancelling headphones for listening to music or videos when others are resting
What items would you like to receive, or what items have you given that were appreciated?
We’d love to hear your ideas! Leave a comment below
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