Nearing the end of life is difficult and hard to face, but finding the right, high-quality end of life care will not only help you live as well as possible in the time you have left, it will also provide crucial emotional support for you, your family and your friends.
You can choose to receive end of life care in your own home, in a care home, in a hospital or in a hospice.
The best end of life care should focus on allowing a patient to die with dignity. It should be sensitive and supportive, reducing pain and stress by carefully monitoring pain, while also helping you, your relatives and loved ones come to terms with the diagnosis and make the most of the time you have left.
Good, compassionate communication is key, and anyone involved in your end of life care should talk through your wishes and preferences, working with you and your support network to create a bespoke high-quality care package.
Write your wishes down and share with the people involved in your care now and in the future, reviewing your plan regularly as your situation changes.
When should you start planning end of life care?
There are many reasons that might make you consider planning end of life care. Perhaps your health condition is deteriorating, you have been diagnosed with a life limiting illness or a loved one has died which has made you think you would like to be prepared?
Whatever your reasons, it is important not to plan for end of life care alone. Involving your loved ones will enable them to provide you with some emotional support and give them a better understanding of your wishes.
As hard as thinking about end of life care may be, talking about it in advance means everyone will know what to do when the time comes, saving a lot of stress and fear during what is already a difficult time.
If you are supporting someone who is not ready to consider end of life care, you can still get help and advice by speaking to your GP or another health or social care professional.
Who provides end of life care?
Who provides your end of life care will depend on your needs, and could include your GP, hospital professionals, community nurses, hospice staff, counsellors and chaplains as well as family and friends.
If you want to find out more about end of life care provision in your area, contact your GP or healthcare professional who can advise you on how end of life care might help you and which services are available locally.
Palliative and end of life care
Palliative care is not just for end of life and can begin earlier after diagnosis, working alongside other therapies. For anyone diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, palliative care focuses on maintaining quality of life by relieving discomfort and distress. Palliative care may be needed for several years alongside other treatments and will continue alongside end of life care, which usually begins when someone enters the last months of life.
End of life care at the Amesbury Abbey Group
The Amesbury Abbey Group offers flexible, compassionate 24-hour end of life nursing care at Sutton Manor in Hampshire, Amesbury Abbey in Wiltshire, and specialist dementia end of life care at Winton House in Hampshire.
The experienced end of life care team works closely with residents, friends, family, carers, GPs and community nurses to provide a holistic package of care for every individual, managing symptoms and maintaining comfort with support and kindness.