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End-of-life care is support provided to your loved one during the last months or years of their life. It aims to help your family member to live as well as possible and to die with dignity. It will take into account your loved one’s wishes and preferences about the latter stages of life and it should also assist your family, carers and those important to your loved one.

Our expert care assistants take a holistic approach to end-of-life care that encompasses physical, psychological, social, and spiritual support. They work hard to ensure your friend or relative feels as comfortable and dignified as possible during the latter stages of life.

For more information you might like to read this useful end-of-life care guide produced by the NHS.

Here we look at what Caremark’s end-of-life care services can offer you and your family.

In this guide we’ll focus on:

The difference between palliative care and end-of-life care

Preparing for end-of-life care

The different types of end-of-life care

How Caremark can help with end-of-life care

A member of our friendly team will be happy to give you further details about Caremark’s end-of-life care services and how we can help you and your loved one. Please click here to find the contact details for your local office.

What is the difference between palliative care and end-of-life care?

Palliative care is the care your loved one might receive if they are living with a terminal illness where a cure is no longer possible. It is designed to manage pain and generally make them as comfortable as possible, while also providing relief from upsetting symptoms. It can be part of your loved one’s end-of-life care or earlier in an illness, at the same time as other therapies given to treat the condition.

Who provides palliative care?

Many healthcare professionals provide palliative care, including care from a GP or nurse, as well as consultants trained in palliative medicine, specialist occupational therapists or physiotherapists.

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 guide. 

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.

What are the different types of end-of-life care?

Your loved one has the right to say where they would like to receive care and where they would like to die. And the choices range from a care home or hospital, to a hospice or at home. Like many people in their last few weeks or days of life, if your loved one would prefer to be at home, where they feel most comfortable, Caremark can help to make this happen.

Our care assistants will work with you, your family and all the experts involved in your or your family member’s care to make caring at home possible. We will work as a team to put together a care plan tailored to your or your loved one’s needs and preferences, ensuring the highest-quality care possible at home. 

Creating a personalised care plan

The palliative and end-of-life care we provide is person-centered. We work with you and your loved one to identify and create a personalised care plan that meets your family member’s wishes and is shared with all those involved in the end-of-life care. We strive to meet your loved one’s physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs and we are always ready to update and revise your care plan as needs change. 

Who provides end-of-life care?

Depending on your loved one’s needs they might have a few different types of professionals involved in their end-of-life care, from hospital doctors, physiotherapists and nurses to a GP and community nurses. Social care staff, chaplains (of all faiths or none), and complementary therapists, as well as family and friends may also be closely involved in the caring process. The main goal for all involved is to ensure your loved one is made to feel as comfortable and as pain free as possible.

And when your family member needs to spend time alone with loved ones, our end-of-life carers will leave you in peace, giving you privacy but remaining on hand or contactable should anything be needed. Our care assistants have been specially trained to ensure they are sensitive and understanding of the stresses and difficulties that everyone involved is likely to feel at this time.

You can read about the training all our care assistants receive here.

Dignity and compassion

Caremark’s aim is to ensure your family member is living as well and as comfortably as possible with the upmost dignity and compassion. Our care plans are put into place to support you and those closest to you, as we fully understand just how sensitive this time for everyone. Our aim is to ensure the care we provide to you and your family is intuitive, flexible, sensitive and the best it can possibly be.

We know that staying in the comfort of your own home, with familiar surroundings is often key to helping you feel more at ease and we can adapt our care depending on your changing needs.

If a family member is providing most of the care, our care assistants can provide a bit of respite to give them a break. Read more about our respite care services here. Our carers can help with preparing meals, washing and dressing, and mobility. Our end-of-life carers are highly trained with a professional, friendly but sensitive manner that we hope will make a difference.

What’s involved in end-of-life care 

Priorities during this period of care:

  • Our end-of-life care is tailored to your loved one’s needs and preferences in their own home.
  • We aim to make your friend or family member as comfortable as possible by managing pain and other symptoms.
  • Doctor visits towards the final stages of life will become more regular with the need for excellent communication with the immediate family.
  • Your care assistant will talk to your family in a delicate but precise manner.
  • We will ensure that all those involved (if preferred) are considered in the decision making process regarding the last few days or weeks.
  • Our care plans can be adjusted over the period of care to meet changing needs.
  • Your care assistant can work alongside palliative care specialists, including consultants, nurses, and occupational therapists.

Would you like further information about end-of-life care?

If you would like more details about our end-of-life care services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by filling out the form below. A member of our team from your local Caremark office will be in touch to discuss your needs and guide you through your options.

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