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End of life care

End of life care helps many elderly people through their final days. In simple terms, end of life care means the care, treatment and support that is provided to help someone to live as well as possible before they die.

End of life care also covers essential aspects of care including the management of pain and other symptoms, the provision of psychological, social, spiritual and practical support and support for the family into bereavement.

Making a decision about end of life care can be difficult and upsetting for all the family. Yet the truth is that selecting the right kind of end of life care can give a patient dignity, and comfort during their remaining days as well as providing support to their loved ones during this difficult time.

It is a good idea to make advance plans for end of life care, if possible. If you or a relative has a terminal illness or is coming to the end of life, it is time to start thinking about what is called “advanced care planning”. This means that you consider and discuss your or your relative’s wishes for how you or they are cared for in the final months of life.

It is an especially good idea to carry out advance planning in the case of conditions that may deteriorate to the extent that the patient may not be able to make or discuss any decisions in the future. A good example here is dementia, where those living with the condition know that they will reach a point at which they will be unable to think or communicate satisfactorily. Although it may be painful to do so, it is worth doing advanced care planning whilst the disease is in its mid stages.

Many people associate end of life care with care homes. Whilst care homes are a good, and even necessary option for some elderly people during their remaining weeks or days, they are not the only option available.

Many elderly people, quite understandably, are reticent to leave their homes. Happily, there are types of end of life care that respect an elderly person’s independence and environment whilst providing them with the essential support they require as their life comes to an end.  Homecare is an excellent option. You can choose a live-in professional carer, who can provide expert care around the clock and really make a difference to those remaining days of an individual’s life.