End-of-life care is not always an easy conversation to have, with yourself or your family. (But it needs to happen!)
And while you may not be ready or want to accept that it might come to this at some point, what’s more important, is that you talk about it with your next of kin or loved one.
These types of conversations don’t have to be uncomfortable (like the one you had with your parents at age 13 🤢). We know that everyone dies, so why not start the conversation and try to see it as a positive. You can never be too prepared. You don’t even have to be sick or dying to have these types of conversations. It might actually come as somewhat of a relief to your loved one to discuss it. It’s possible they were finding it hard to gather the right words or questions to ask and appreciate the chance to talk openly about their wishes.
It is far less stressful for close family to know about their loved one’s preferences and wishes for end-of-life care. Most people want to have the opportunity to help their loved ones and care for them properly and it can be of real comfort to know they are doing the right thing for them in the end.
So, let’s chat.
What is the difference between end-of-life care and palliative care? Who and where can you get this type of care from?
Refers to care that helps manage pain, reduce symptoms, and keep you as comfortable as possible. It is not just the physical aspect of care, but the emotional, psychological, and spiritual support for the individual and their family as well. While receiving care for a prolonged illness (not necessarily life-threatening), the individual is offered the best quality of life, while making them as comfortable and dignified as possible. Palliative care can include end-of-life care but is not limited to the care someone would receive at the end of their life. It also can be used at any point during the treatment process.
It is the treatment, care, and support for the individual and the family of one who is suffering physically. It’s the care plan for someone who is likely to die within the next 12 months. It is about promoting dignity and relieving pain, enabling them to live their best life each day until the end comes.
The comfort of planning ahead
Most people would say that their biggest fear is that of the unknown. So, talking about what could happen with your loved ones should take away some of the worry and anxiety. It will help reassure your loved ones that their wishes will be respected.
There are many people that provide end-of-life and palliative care. The health and social care professionals differ between the two a bit but can include:
- Hospital doctors and nurses
- Community nurses
- Hospice staff
- Social workers
- Occupational therapists
- Recreation therapists
NHS or local council (for palliative mainly)
Options for receiving care
End-of-life care can take place at home or in a hospital, care home, or hospice setting. You have the right to express your wishes of where to receive care.
Some people want to stay somewhere familiar and safe, so end-of-life care is done at their own home. Community nurses and even specialists come to the house to provide hands-on nursing or personal care needed to control the pain and symptoms, along with emotional support.
There are more options for professional care at a hospital, and even special palliative care teams to help. They would help the staff with the discharge plan or transfer to a hospice/care home, as there is not always enough space to stay long-term.
This type of care is 24/7 care that is much like that of family members. Mostly these homes house people with disabilities, serious long-term conditions or restricted mobility.
Hospice care can be either inpatient or day patient and is provided by a specialist unit. They are designed solely for the provision of end-of-life care.
How to establish a plan
There are considerations in regards to where and how someone wants to pass. Some people have clear opinions about the level of medical intervention and treatment they want, while others may take a while to decide. Coming to terms with death is a journey and is not always a straightforward one.
Healthcare professionals will always work to accommodate someone’s wishes when at all possible, so know that it is your decision. Do your research and have some conversations.
There are lots of online resources that can provide more detailed information and plenty of people who you can talk to for further advice and guidance. If you have questions regarding your end-of-life admin, we’d love to help you. Life insurance and wills are a click away. 💛