What is comfort care?

By Taisha Walker - Reporter

HOUSTON - Former First Lady Barbara Bush has chosen to receive comfort care rather than continuous medical care for her failing health, according to a family spokesperson.

The decision has left many wondering what exactly is comfort care.

Selby Clark, co-owner is Comfort Keepers in Houston, said comfort care involves making a person feel comfortable throughout the remaining of their life. That could include making meals, bathing or changing bedding.

“When you were little and someone changed your diaper that was comfort care. They kept you clean,” Clark said.

[Leave your well-wishes for Barbara Bush]

Comfort care can be outsourced -- through an organization like Comfort Keepers -- or it can be provided by family. It’s different, he said, from hospice care.

“To qualify for hospice service your physician needs to determine that you are not expected ... to live more than six months,” he added.

Clark said a person receiving comfort care could have anywhere from a few days to years to live. Bush has decided to live out the rest of her days receiving comfort care while being surrounded by family, according to a spokesperson.

“No doubt she’s surrounded by people who have similar beliefs and you know provides that comfort as well,” Clark said.

In a 2003 interview with C-SPAN, the now 92-year-old opened up about her faith, even sharing her views on death.

“I have no fear of death which is a huge comfort because we’re getting darn close and I don’t have a fear of death for my precious George or for myself,” the former First Lady said in the sit-down interview.

While medical care focuses more on the underlying illness of a person, comfort care is meant to address the suffering associated with the illness.

Here's a look at what comfort care offers:

Personal care

  • Bathing, grooming, hygiene
  • Mobility assistance
  • Medication reminders
  • Feeding and special diet

Care services

  • Companionship
  • Meal preparation
  • Laundry
  • Light housekeeping

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