Preparing For A Loved One To Pass At Home
By: Tom Harries
Jan 17, 2022 | End-of-life Logistics3 min read
It is increasingly common for people to choose to die in their own home in the US, as opposed to in a care or hospital facility. This is due to the growing popularity of hospice care as well as the broader appeal of the familiarity the home setting provides.
There are a number of things for families to think about before and after an at-home death. This article looks at how to prepare emotionally and practically for the death of a loved one at home. In this article, we will cover important preparations including creating a suitable environment, arranging a funeral, and starting on estate administration matters.
Passing At Home
About 80% of Americans say their preference would be to pass at home, if the option is available to them. More people now die at home than in hospitals, reflecting a substantial increase in home deaths over the past two decades.
Possible reasons for this change include growth of at-home hospice care, and the desire to be among the comforts and familiar surroundings of home.
Because at-home deaths are very common, there is plenty of support available for those who wish to care for a family member in their home. If choosing hospice care, professionals will be able to guide a family through the process, providing support and training where necessary. Funeral homes are also used to helping families whose loved one has passed, or is expected to pass, at their home.
Notwithstanding available support, there are a number of things worth preparing for as a family.
Setting Up A Comfortable/Practical Environment
Once the decision has been made to administer care in the home, the first important step is to ensure a comfortable and practical environment. This might include preparing a downstairs room, clearing space for necessary medical equipment and organizing a hospital-style bed.
A patient’s exact needs should be discussed with the hospice or care team, who might need to teach a family how to give medication and who will also be able to help with any equipment.
It is not just the physical environment that is important. Spending time together as a family can be comforting for all involved and presents an opportunity to share memories and discuss final wishes. If the loved one is able to cope with further visitors, time with wider family and friends can also be helpful.
Caring for a loved one can be extremely tough, and family or friends who have taken on care responsibilities should make sure to look after their own health. Sharing memories together and practicing self care are important steps.
Self care could simply mean keeping up routines as far as possible and staying healthy with good nutrition and exercise. It could also be very specific to the end-of-life process, with grief support and tailored programs available. There is a wealth of resources online or an individual can look to their physician for advice.
Planning End Of Life Arrangements
Estate Administration And Paperwork
This is an appropriate time for a family to start gathering documents together. These might include anything that provides information needed for a death certificate (e.g. birth certificate and social security card), and anything related to a loved one’s accounts (e.g. pensions, utilities and bank accounts) in preparation for estate administration.
This is also a good time to discuss a loved one’s wishes with regards to funeral and method of disposition, if those wishes are not already known and clear. Matters to discuss include what form of disposition an individual prefers (e.g. soil transformation, cremation), whether they want a funeral service or some other form of memorial service, and what any such celebration of life might look like.
When preferences are clear, a family might look to make contact with a funeral home and start arrangements with a funeral provider.
Earth Imminent Need
At Earth, we’ve designed the simplest way to make arrangements for a loved one who’s expected to pass soon. In just three simple steps, you can make all the arrangements ahead of time, allowing you to focus on spending time with your loved one. When you need our services, all you need to do is call us, and we handle the rest. We keep your card on file but don’t charge it until you require our services.
Our immediate need package includes everything that you need: the services of a licensed funeral director, collection and care from your loved one’s home, the filing of all necessary paperwork and permits, and the soil transformation process itself. Our experienced team is available 24/7 to guide you through the end-to-end process.
At Earth, we provide soil transformation services. This is an environmentally-friendly alternative to cremation and traditional burial.
Also known as natural organic reduction or human composting, soil transformation involves the gentle transformation of a body into nutrient-rich soil. Families choose how much soil they’d like returned — to scatter or plant — with the remainder sent to local conservation sites for land restoration purposes.