One of the problems that your family member might wrestle with at the end of her life is constipation. Severe constipation can create far greater problems than you might think. Reduced mobility and dietary changes can combine with other issues to create a painful situation. Hospice elder care providers can help you to navigate this problem without creating bigger problems for your family member.
Talk with Her Doctor
Your family member’s doctor may be able to offer a solution that is tailor-made for her situation. Her doctor is aware of everything going on with her care and can offer options based on those different puzzle pieces. Depending on whether your family member is choosing curative treatments or not, those may affect her constipation.
Laxatives and Stool Softeners Help
Over-the-counter laxatives and stool softeners can help your family member quite a bit. Some people may only need a little bit of these items in order to experience some relief. If your family member isn’t getting the results that you’d like, then prescription stool softeners and laxatives might be another step to try.
Some Medications Cause Constipation
Some of the medications that your family member is taking for her other health issues may have the side effect of causing or worsening constipation. This might be something that your family member’s doctor can adjust for her. It may also be possible that some of the medications causing the largest issues can be substituted for other medications that are less likely to cause constipation.
Enemas May Help
In severe situations, your family member may need to use an enema. This can be uncomfortable mentally for some people, but it can quickly ease the pain of constipation. Depending on your family member’s mobility, this may be difficult to do at home.
Adding Fluids May Help
At the end of your family member’s life, she may not be drinking fluids like she has in the past. Reducing the amount of fluid that she is drinking can significantly affect her issues with constipation. Likewise, introducing just a little more water, even through use of ice chips, can be a helpful addition to your family member’s daily intake.
Managing constipation is not usually something that happens with one solution alone, especially near the end of your family member’s life. Elder care providers can help you to try different options in combination to find the right answer for you and your family member.