What makes you think of Comfort?
To me… comfort is wearing my flannel jammies, wrapped in a fuzzy soft blanket, with a big cup of coffee- just the way I like it fixed- setting next to my window in my giant recliner and watching the snowflakes slowly meander their way to the ground, carols softly playing from Spotify in the background with the scent of fresh-baked gingerbread wafting from the kitchen counter where they are cooling– just waiting to be built into a glamorous cottage. These Christmas thoughts are so enticing and comforting to me. To be home, comfortable, warm, and looking forward to a special tradition I get to pass along to my children, like my mother, and her mother, passed it along to me.
What about you? What about someone on Hospice? What is comfort for them?
For one patient I know, Comfort became a bed bath, when she had no energy to shower. On her first visit from her Personal Care Assistant (CNA), her biggest concern with bed bathing was getting cold. The CNA smiled at her and told her, “I will make sure to keep you warm.” The patient hesitantly agreed to try a bed bath.
Her towels got placed in the dryer first thing as the water was warming up for the washbasin. Once everything was prepared, the warm towels were brought out of the dryer and placed over her. She held on to that towel with frail little hands, began to smile, heaved a sigh, and snuggled deeper- if possible- into her bed.
Throughout the entire visit, the CNA made sure that she was always enveloped in a warm towel. The CNA went about her work. Washing drying and making sure to keep her covered as much as possible. By the end of the visit, when she went to thank her CNA for her first-ever bed bath- she was nearly in tears. She called the CNA her Angel. A miracle worker. The CNA shook her head and with smiling eyes merely asked, “Did you stay warm enough?” The patient’s tears began to trickle down her cheeks as she smiled and whispered out a sweet “Yes. Bless your heart, thank you so much.”
The CNA knew how to keep her patient comfortable, by not letting her get cold; but, in doing so, she provided so much more comfort to her than just warmth. She provided reassurance, she helped her feel clean and fresh, she built trust, and most importantly, showed this patient that her biggest concerns-are our biggest concerns.
Comfort is different for everyone. It can be elaborate things, gestures of great expression to the ones you adore, or even Money in the bank, especially if you’re a College student; but, most often, it tends to be something small. Perhaps: Being clean. Warm. Presence. Peace. Love.