A caregiver's guide to helping a loved one under hospice care with the symptoms of constipation.
What are some Symptoms of Constipation?
Bowel movement less frequently than normal
Any change in the frequency or consistency (e.g., liquid, pebbles) of bowel movements
Pain, cramping, tenderness
A feeling of fullness or bloating
Blood in stools
Diarrhea or oozing stools
Nausea and/or vomiting
What can be done to Manage Constipation?
Record when bowel movements occur
Follow a regular bowel regimen, even if not constipated; many medications can cause constipation
Establish routine times for toileting
Drink as much fluid as is comfortable; warm liquids may promote bowel movement
Fluids are found in liquids, juices, soups, fruits, vegetables, and frozen treats
Try to drink 6-8 cups daily
Eat more fruits and fruit juices, including dried fruits.
Try to sit upright and avoid lying too much in bed
Increase physical activity if possible; walking can be beneficial
Take laxatives/stool softeners as ordered by the care team
Sit upright on the toilet, commode or bedpan
Avoid bulk laxatives as determined by the care team if not drinking enough fluids
What are some of the Side Effects of Treating Constipation?
If Constipation is not managed or medication side effects do not improve, notify the hospice team.
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