What is End of life care?End of life care often means the treatment of symptoms and can extend to counselling and emotional support. End of life care, or palliative care, refers to professional support given to those who are terminally ill and their families. This support often involves the management of medications that will minimise symptoms, without the hope of curing the underlying condition. Speak to a Care Advisor today to find out how we can help provide exceptional end of life care.
Nothing can erase the pain of facing the loss of someone you love, but end of life care can help support the whole family and allow your loved one to pass on in comfort and dignity.The term end of life care can seem negative and final, however it’s important to realise that receiving this kind of care doesn’t mean that death is imminent or that the medical teams have given up on your loved one. At this challenging time, accessing care can be a very positive step. There will be the support to manage symptoms and maintain comfort and wellbeing, which will maximise joy and fulfilment.
What does end of life care mean?
This can include people who are facing death within a few days or hours, those who have advanced incurable diseases and those whose age, frailty and medical conditions mean they are expected to die within a year. If you or a loved one are in need of end of life or palliative care, our Care Advisors can work with you to develop a care plan and source a vetted carer matched to your requirements. End of life care nursing may be required where needs are particulary complex but in many cases carers trained in end of life palliative care skills should be sufficient.
Seeking end of life care can seem like a negative step. But accessing support can make a real difference to the quality of life both for the individual affected and for those who love them.
The National Council for Palliative Care says that end of life care helps all those with advanced, progressive, incurable illness to live as well as possible until they die. It enables the supportive and palliative care needs of both patient and family to be identified and met throughout the last phase of life and into bereavement. It includes management of pain and other symptoms and provision of psychological, social, spiritual and practical support.From that definition, it’s clear that end of life care involves careful control of pain and other symptoms, but that it also extends far beyond this. It is a uniquely frightening and stressful time and the whole family should be supported practically, socially and psychologically. This can mean assistance with matters like feeding, bathing and toileting, help to come to terms with the diagnosis and the space to make the most of the time you have left. When the time comes, your loved one should be allowed to die in peace in the place of their choice.
If you or your loved one is in a position to need palliative care, you no doubt have a huge amount on your mind. You’re probably wondering what options are available to you, what support system you can hope to build and, not least, whether or not you'll be able to afford it.The good news is that there are a lot of options out there, and support is available.
What does palliative care mean?Firstly, a brief introduction: what is palliative care?
How does palliative care work?End of life care, or palliative care is a specific part of what's called supportive care. Supportive care should be integrated into diagnosis and treatment, and covers:
- Self help and support
- The giving of information
- Psychological support
- Symptom control
- Complementary therapies
- Spiritual support
What does palliative care do?End of life care aims to help the patient and their family to adjust. It sounds morbid, but it's surprisingly life-affirming. Death is a natural part of life and there's nothing unusual about it. Palliative care will help the patient and family to focus on their psychological and spiritual wellbeing, while easing the pain and symptoms that might cause discomfort. End of life care helps those coming to the end, to remain active, and helps everyone involved to have a healthy emotional response to the situation. It's never an easy time. It's likely that feelings will be turbulent and sometimes confused, and having a professional involved can help to clear the tensions and strains that will inevitably arise.
What is an end of life care plan?An end of life care plan is document created by the clinical team and palliative care professionals in partnership with yourself or loved ones to make the end of life as comfortable as possible. For example end of life live in care can help you remain in your home amongst family and friends.
How much does palliative care cost?As is true across the care sector, it’s difficult to give an exact answer as costs depend on a number of factors. By its very nature, palliative care is holistic but evidence based, so costs will depend on how many people are involved, and what speciality may be required. It will also depend on where you receive palliative care – whether at home, in a hospital, in a care home, or in a hospice. The average hospice stay lasts around 14 days, at a cost of up to £400 a day. Should you or your loved one wish to spend the remaining time at home, live-in palliative care can be a considerably cheaper option.
Planning end-of-life carePlanning ahead is important to ensure that your loved one gets the care that best meets their needs. It’s vital to consider practical and financial matters like Power of Attorney and wills and to think about the sort of support they would prefer towards the end of life. They don’t have to formalise these opinions, but an advanced care plan can ensure that the healthcare team fully understand their wishes, it can also help your loved one process their thoughts and feelings. Remember, the plan is written on paper, not set in stone, they can edit it whenever and however they need. It’s worth considering these questions:
- Where you would they like to receive care?
- Are there any treatments that they would prefer not to have?
- Would they like resuscitation if their breathing stops or if they suffer a cardiac arrest?