Whats in this section?

Whats in this section?

What is end of life care?

End of life care is care for people with a terminal illness. It is the support they receive through their final months or years of life and includes palliative care.

It helps people to be as comfortable as possible and to die with dignity. It also includes support for their family or carers.

The Department of Health has a Strategy for every organisation involved in providing end of life care. Each is expected to adopt an overall co-ordination process, such as the Gold Standards Framework.

Dying is often painful to contemplate and as a society we do not discuss death and dying openly, the way care professionals approach the process is incredibly important for the individual, their family and carers.

‘How we care for the dying is an indicator of how we care for all sick and vulnerable people. It is a measure of society as a whole and it is a litmus test for health and social care services.’

Those being cared for should have the opportunity to discuss their needs and preferences with professionals who will be supporting them. These are recorded in an Advance Care Plan so that every supporting service is aware of the client’s wishes.

Programmes available

The Gold Standards Framework (GSF)

This can be used in various settings, for example hospitals, primary care and care homes, to improve the co-ordination and communication between different organisations involved in providing care for someone near the end of their life.

‘Preferred Priorities for Care’ (PPC)

This document is an example of an Advance Statement and is designed to help people prepare for the future and gives them an opportunity to think about, talk about and write down their preferences and priorities for care at the end of life.

Finding end of life care

If you are looking for end-of-life care options, you can find care homes and homecare providers offering palliative care here.

Despite general reluctance to broach this sensitive area, it is worthwhile asking potential care providers their approach to end of life care and whether they are following national strategies for implementing best practice within their home.

Planning ahead

When planning for the end of life, there are important considerations and although talking about dying may not be easy, it is important so that people have control over the process.

You will need to think about:

  • Making a will
  • Planning and sharing funeral wishes
  • Preferences for care and support, including preferred places to die
  • Creating lasting power of attorney documents to cover financial or healthcare decisions, or both
  • Making a decision on organ donation
  • Thinking about ‘Digital Legacy’ and access to online accounts
  • Sharing wishes with partners and close relatives

What next?

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