Tips and resources to help you throughout your caregiving journey

Providing end of life care – adapting your home

Providing end of life care – adapting your home

While the terminally ill person you are caring for may not have wanted to die at home initially, their wishes may change as death gets closer. They may not want to be in an institution and would prefer to receive end of life care at home or in a home-like setting.

As a caregiver caring for a person at home at the end of their life you will need to consider where most or all of the care will be provided. While some people wish to receive all of their care in the home including at the time of death, others wish to receive care at home up until the last few days before the death at which time they may be transferred to a residential hospice, palliative care unit or other facility.

Caregivers will need to consider what changes are needed in the home to provide end of life care. Consider the following questions:

  • If there are stairs, can the person climb them (up or down)?
  • Where is the bathroom located? Is it close to where the care will be provided?
  • Is there a preference to be in a bedroom or close to family activities?
  • Will a hospital bed be needed and if so, is the care space large enough?

Other things to consider for end of life care and comfort

  • Remove throw rugs on the floor as they can be a fall hazard.
  • Consider moving the bed of the terminally ill person you are caring for by the window, if possible
  • Surround the person you are caring for with favourite pictures, music, and/or pets.
  • Use a small table within reach of the bed to keep snacks, drinks, medications, and books on
  • Have a comfortable arm chair close by that is easy to get in and out of
  • Consider a baby monitor or small bell that they can use to call for help

Equipment for end of life care

There is also equipment that can be rented that may be of assistance in providing end of life care including:

  • Hospital bed
  • Bed side table
  • Bedside commode
  • Raised toilet seat
  • Walker
  • Wheelchair
  • Bath seat
  • Floor to ceiling assist pole

Resources to help support you as a caregiver

The community nurse, occupational therapist, or another member of the health care team may be of assistance in making recommendations about adapting your home for end of life care, including which equipment and aids may be of assistance to you and the person in your care.

Caring for someone at the end of life can be an emotional experience. Make sure you get the help you need to take on this responsibility and take the time to enjoy the final moments with the person in your care.

You may find relief in your grief by working on a legacy activity

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  • Jenn Smith
    Wed Apr 08 2020, 11:11
    My daughter is a drug addict. I've been raising her son for 3 years and I haven't seen my daughter in over 2 years now. She sends me a text every two or three months...sometimes she sounds sober but mostly she's mean. MY daughter is gone. Maybe not physically deceased, but the person she was is dead. I feel like I've been mourning so many things it never ends...my role as a mother to my daughter, my cherished role as "grandma", the loss of freedom from child rearing, the loss of my professional career and the loss of my health due to all this stress (I had to close my business in order to care for my grandson with special needs and my autoimmune disease has caused a serious and steady decline in my health). I blame my daughter for all of this! I vacillate between anger, sadness, bargaining, guilt...all of the feelings of mourning. I feel bad for mourning. To those who've lost children like my own parents, I'm "lucky." I would never say this to them, but at least they know where their child is. I wait for the phone to ring and for all of this to end...for real. Is this grief I'm experiencing?
  • Anna Cooper
    Sun Jul 05 2020, 17:02
    My dad died in a different country during lockdown so I couldn't make his funeral. I saw him in hos casket over video call. The pain was so intense but being stuck inside a small flat with my daughter and partner forced me to bottle it up. I thought I was getting better but now, 3 months on I've started to feel intense down moments again. Is this normal?
    • JaneVock
      Mon Jul 06 2020, 09:58
      Hi Anna, Yes, this is completely normal. I well imagine that the pain was intense and you didn't have the usual supports in your grieving process. Grief and grieving has its own timing? Please do take care.