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Jan 05, 2022 / After Life

What is End of Life and Palliative Care?

What is End of Life and Palliative Care? image

End of life care and palliative care are often used interchangeably because they are often administered at the same time. Both happen in the last few months or last year of someone’s life. Palliative care is focused on managing the symptoms of health conditions and ensuring the person is pain-free and physically comfortable. End of life care takes more of an emotional focus, ensuring both the person and their loved ones have support and answers to their questions.

What Are the Elements of End of Life Care?

The services that are provided in end of life care may look different depending on the person receiving end of life care. They are very needs-focused and may include some of the following things:

  • Spiritual or religious care
  • Mental health support for you and your family
  • Information about end of life, what to expect, what to organise
  • Support or referrals to financial and legal professionals to put affairs in order
  • Palliative care to ensure you are pain-free and comfortable
  • Comfort in the form of personalising a room in the hospital, nursing home, or hospice

For people with severe health conditions or circumstances which do not allow for care, they may receive end of life care in a nursing home or hospice facility. If the person has not deteriorated physically or has the resources and support to receive care at home, they may receive end of life care at home. End of life care professionals will work with the individual and their family to find the best form of care for the circumstances.

When Is End of Life Care Provided?

End of life care and palliative care are often provided when doctors determine that someone has a short time left to live. Predictions on the amount of time someone has are not always accurate, so palliative care and end of life care may be provided for just months or could be provided for a year or two.

Your doctor will be able to provide you resources on end of life care and palliative care to help you plan your next steps. A lot of professionals are involved in this type of care, so there may be a lot of moving parts. If you or your loved one are referred to a hospice facility or reside in a nursing home, then the facility will usually organise end of life care and palliative care through their onsite staff.

What If My Loved One Refuses End of Life Care?

Sometimes people just want to be surrounded by the people they love during their final days. They may not want strangers coming in and out of their home or to be transferred to a strange facility. If that is the case, support them by ensuring they get to see or contact the people they want and reminiscing or talking about the future as they wish.

If you need end of life care because your loved one is dying, there are resources available to you even if your loved one has refused end of life care. Speak to your GP about accessing support for preparing for a loved one’s death.

Again, end of life care is not a strict program; people are given the ability to select the help they need and skip over the things they do not want.

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Published Jan 05, 2022 |

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