5 Ways to Make a Patient's Room Comfortable - Heart 'n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC

5 Ways to Make a Patient’s Room Comfortable

Volunteers have the unique opportunity to influence the mood of a room in a way that will create comfort for our patients. Keep in mind, these same ideas can be used for caregivers. There are some general ways of going about this, as well as ways that are unique to the patient themselves. Here are five things that could support a gentle and comfortable room for our patients:

  1. Temperature: warm is better. Keep the room temperature higher and to give the patient a blanket as well. It may be uncomfortably warm to you, so make sure to dress in layers and bring cold water to drink.
  2. Dignity: by the time our patients reach us, they may have been poked and prodded, they may have had catheters, they may have decided to stop wearing clothing. Dignity can have a huge impact on a patient’s outlook and mood. Make sure they are covered to suit their own comfort level, such as a blanket or sheet draped on them.
  3. Lighting: it’s hard to sleep when the room is brightly lit, so it’s a good idea to dim the lights as best as you can. Get creative. Turn on lamps, turn off the overhead lights. If there are no lamps, can you turn on the hall light or bathroom light to offer ambiance.
  4. Sounds: music and the tone of your voice, the volume on the television, any sound can be a distraction or disruption to a patient who is trying to feel comfortable. Can you eliminate noise? Alternatively, some people prefer the way the dialogue on television can fill a room and make it feel less lonely. Check in with your patient to see what noise level they prefer.
  5. Scents: in general Heart ‘n Home has a fragrance-free policy. However, if you are trained, you can use essential oils to offer another sensory experience. Rubbing lavender-scented hand lotion on a patient’s arm can feel soothing to dry skin. Is there something in the room that is creating an odor? In facilities sometimes the scent of urine is quite distracting or disruptive and you can call a caregiver to remove urinals or change a patient.

Think about what you would like in your room when you’re on the last part of your life’s journey and what would make you comfortable or uncomfortable. Then, understand that this is different for everyone. As a Volunteer, you can create comfort by thinking of just a few things.

Joelle Brown
Bend and La Pine Volunteer Coordinator
Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care

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