When you hear those words, creature comforts, what images come to mind? I think of warm soft blankets and pillows, mugs filled with warm drinks, possibly even a fireplace. By definition, creature comforts are things that give bodily comfort, whether food, warmth or special accommodations.

When I care for patients in the Intensive Care Unit, I stop and take time to appreciate their creature comforts. It may be a pillow or a favorite throw from home, a framed photo of family or pets, or sometimes a religious token pinned to the patient’s gown or wrapped in their hand. For both the patient and the family, these items bring special meaning and comfort.

When it is your time at the end of life and wish for comfort around you, what do you picture? Can you hear your favorite music playing or do you feel soft sheets and blankets? What about the scents that bring you peace, vanilla or lavender? Possibly having your hair softly brushed or your feet gently massaged when you are falling to sleep? Or do you like the sound of a fan or white noise to relax? Maybe having your nails filed and painted or hearing someone read your favorite verses would bring you peace.

Whatever comfort is for you, whatever it is that you wish, if you have the privilege of asking for these important things, your wishes can be honored. Write it down in your advance directive, tell you family, share your wishes with the people you want nearby and let them know where you keep this information. Then if you aren’t able to ask for it yourself, your healthcare agent can support you in getting what you need.

Email me at [email protected] or call 847-901-3888 to complete your advance directive.

“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.” – Tia Walker

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