How to prepare for end-of-life care
If you’re thinking about end-of-life care for a loved one, everyone involved is probably going through a difficult time. But help and support is out there, and we’ve listed just a few of the charities and support groups that can advise on everything from getting the right kind of help to talking to a family member or friend about end-of-life and palliative care.
Advice and support
These charities provide practical advice, information, and emotional support for people with a terminal illness, their carers, friends and families:
Everyone is entitled to high-quality care in the final weeks or months of their life. The local council, authority or health and social care trust may be able to help with the cost of this, or pay for all of it, depending on where you live, what your needs are and how much money you have. For further information see the NHS guide to when the council might pay for your care
Who is responsible for end-of-life care?
For people living at home or in a care home, their GP is responsible for their medical care. If someone can no longer leave their house or care home, a district nurse can be arranged through their GP to help to arrange their care.
If you are thinking about end-of-life care for someone it might be useful to consider the following questions:
- Does your loved one have a terminal diagnosis and need palliative care?
- Does your loved one wish to stay in their home while receiving palliative care?
- What are your loved one’s care needs?
- What treatment or therapies are they currently receiving?
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced this care of dying adults in the last days of life
How do I know when end-of-life care is needed?
People can benefit from end-of-life care in several different situations and at varying stages, from their last few years to their last few days. It’s not always possible to predict when a person is likely to die but those considered to be approaching the end of their life include those with an incurable illness, such as dementia or motor neurone disease; those with a life-threatening acute condition such as a stroke or accident; and those who are generally frail and with existing conditions. For some end-of-life care is provided over a few days while for others it is given over a number of months or even years.
The NHS provides a useful list of five priorities for end-of-life care and support. It includes information on care plans, the importance of being spoken to sensitively and honestly, and how the needs of the family and those close to the person coming to the end of their life should be met as far as possible.