Someone contacted me because they are the advocate for a loved one who has decided to VSED. They asked for a list of care giving supplies to have on hand to facilitate the process and keep their loved one comfortable. One of my colleagues, who was a caregiver for Alan, put this list together. These are the items we assembled before Alan started. It was important to me that we have everything on hand so full attention could then be given to Alan once he started to VSED. These supplies can be acquired from local medical supply stores, local drugstores and/or on-line. If the person is going to VSED at home and Hospice is involved, Hospice is often able to supply many of these things. Coordinate this list with them before purchasing items or renting equipment independently.
- A cool mist humidifier will provide moisture in the air and help offset the bodily drying sensations brought on by dehydration
- Eye drops, lip balm and body lotion administered routinely will soothe eyes, lips and skin.
- Small one ounce spray bottles, be sure they only spray fine mist, used to quench thirst but providing minimal hydration.
- Disposable oral swab sticks, the little sponges on a stick. These are good for cleaning the teeth, gums and tongue. It is recommended that they not be used to deliver moisture for two reasons: 1) The sponge can hold a lot of water and offset the goal of not drinking 2) A person might reflexively chomp down on the stick and could potentially bite the sponge portion off, making it become a choking hazard.
- Tab style adult diapers to be used when a person can no longer get up. These can be used open under the person, or tabbed closed.
- Bed pan to be used if a person is conscious and needs to eliminate but can no longer get up.
- Hand held urinal for men, easier than a bed pan if the need to void is felt.
- Bedside commode useful when a person can no longer get to the bathroom but is able to get up independently or with assist.
- Hospital Bed helps the caregivers to provide better care as the process continues; the bed can be raised to provide easier care access, lowered so the person can get out more easily, raised and lowered at head and foot to vary body position and prevent pressure sores. The ability to raise the head of the bed, can become important at later stages as breathing and lung clarity changes and is necessary when administering medication.
- 3 or 4 cloth reusable waterproof pads, also referred to as draw sheets. These come in various sizes and get no smaller than 30” x 34”. They are placed under the person in bed and, besides acting to protect the bed from fluids, they are essential for moving the person easily and comfortably.
- Disposable waterproof rectangular under pads used on top of draw sheets and also on furniture if person is sitting up out of bed.
- Gait belt, worn around the person’s waist when they get up. The belt allows a caregiver to hold, guide and stabilize the person without risk of injury that might be caused from holding on to the arm or clothing. If you hire professional caregivers, they will likely bring a gait belt, so check with them before purchasing.
- A & D Ointment, or some other moisture barrier cream can be helpful in hip creases, inner thighs and buttock region for moisture or friction aggravation.
- Wash Cloths
- Hand Towels
- Baby Wipes
- Disposable Gloves, available in latex or non-latex.
- 13 Gallon Kitchen Garbage Bags
- Baby Monitor, to listen for person’s needs when not in with them.
- Bell, for person to ring for help.
Summary Shopping List:
From the Drugstore
Small Spray Bottle
Disposable Oral Swab Sticks
Tab Style Diapers
Reusable Waterproof Pads (Draw Sheets)
Disposable Waterproof Rectangular Under Pads
Hand Held Urinal for Men
A & D Ointment
13 Gallon Kitchen Garbage Bags
From Medical Supply Store
Cool Mist Humidifier