Comfort Care is an essential part of medical care at the end of life. It is care that helps or soothes a person who is dying. The goal is to prevent or relieve suffering as much as possible while respecting the dying person’s wishes.
The Comfort Care Basket was created by Seven Oaks Long Term Care Centre to make the person and their family’s time together as comfortable as possible. The contents are for the person who is currently receiving comfort care support, their family and friends.
Every person and family is individual whose needs vary. The Comfort Care Basket needs to be tailored to each person. Here are some ideas for the Comfort Care Basket and are suggestions only.
Contents applicable to the resident on comfort care
Familiar Music Albums/CD Player
- Familiar music may help increase feelings of comfort, relaxation and decrease the perception of distressing physical symptoms (i.e. pain or restlessness)
- Encourage family members or friends to bring in any additional CD’s from home.
Communication Journal/Note Pad/recording device
- Recording personal thoughts and memories are meaningful as well as a way to document information, keep notes or communicate.
- A light massage of hands with lotion can aid relaxation.
Reading Material and Resources
- Reading to your family member provides comfort and reassurance by hearing a familiar voice. Have various books available. Some examples are:
- Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul
- When Dinosaurs Die (A resource for children)
- A Cup of Comfort For A Better World
Contents for the family visiting a resident on comfort care
In every basket there should be items for use by family or friends who are visiting. Here are some suggestions of items to be included:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Coffee and tea supplies and instructions on where to make coffee and tea
- Tea/ coffee/snack
- Kleenex pack
- Crossword or Sudoku or Word Search book with pens
- 2 Water Bottles
- Hand wipes
- Hand towels
- Cozy soft socks
- Soothing videos
- Cozy blanket
- Magazines Stereo player with calming CD’s
- List of Accommodations in the area
- Last hours of Life booklets
- Notebook for Family communications
A note should be included indicating who to ask if there is anything else needed. Examples:
- If you need a kettle or hot water for your tea or coffee, please let a staff member know.
- Please let us know if there is anything else we can provide to you beyond the contents of this basket.
Special contents available to children who are visiting with family
For families with young children, it is good to provide resources for them. Examples:
- Colouring book
- Children’s reading books
- Small toys (i.e. stuffed animals, Teddy bears)
- When Dinosaurs Die book – recommended for those who are wanting to educate their children about death or dying (Please do not include this book for all families with children unless you know this will be a good resource for them)
Example of a Comfort Care Basket at Seven Oaks
- A note with the following text and listing the contents of the basket:
“We hope to express our support and sincere desire to make this time for you as comfortable as possible. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.”
The Comfort Care Team at Seven Oaks
This Comfort Care Basket Contains:
- CD Player
- 2-3 CDs
- 1 Kleenex Pack
- 1 Toothbrush
- 1 Tooth paste
- 1 Hand Lotion
- 1 Cup of Comfort for a Better World book
- 2 pens
- 1 Crossword or Sudoku or Word search book
- 1 Tea and Snack Baggie (Please take pre-made baggie)
- Candy Pouch (Please take pre-made baggie)
- 2 Water Bottles
- 2 Hand Towels
- 1 Last Stages of Life laminated page
- 1 Comfort Care Basket laminated card
- 1 Strip of hand wipes
Note: If resident/resident family has young children visiting please include:
- 1 Colouring book
- 1 pack of crayons
- 1-2 Reading books
- 1 When Dinosaurs Die book only recommended for those who are wanting to educated their children about death or dying (Please do not include this book for all families with children unless you know this will be a good resource for them)
Other comfort ideas for the room
- Have a “Sentimental Memory Box” to hold special things belonging to the resident such as pictures, keepsakes, clothing or other personal items.
“Gonna take a sentimental journey
Gonna set my heart at ease
Gonna make a sentimental journey
To renew old memories
I never thought my heart could be so yearning
Why did I decide to roam?
Got to take a sentimental journey
Sentimental journey home”
(Lyrics taken from Doris Day’s Sentimental Journey)
- You could use a Microwave Cart or Wooden Tea Cart instead of a basket
- Flower arrangements
- Night Lights
- Angels at Christmas
- A Power bar
- Floor Lamp with soft light
- Portable water fountain
- Portable fan
- If a Palliative Care Family room is used:
- have a bar fridge with cheese and crackers and cookies.
- have a chair that makes into a bed
- have some pastel coloured linens
Material sourced with permission from The Comfort Care Basket Program, Seven Oaks Long Term Care Centre, Toronto, ON