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What to expect from end of life care

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  • end of life care
  • Posted date:
  • 29-07-2016
What to expect from end of life care

What to expect from end of life care

End of life care is the palliative care that you will receive in the last months of your life. You should be supported to live as well as possible. Your healthcare team will support you so that pain and any uncomfortable symptoms are controlled. 

However, the care should extend beyond your healthcare needs. Your psychological, social, emotional and spiritual demands should also be addressed to enable you to achieve the best quality of life for the time remaining and to help you die with dignity.

The National Insitute for Clinical Excellence have said that end of life care should be about enhancing quality of life, ensuring that people have a positive experience of healthcare and treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm.

Good end of life support is really all about communication. The people who are caring for you should listen to your thoughts and feelings about the care you would prefer. They should also respond to the wishes of your family and offer them support and guidance at this stressful time.

Advance care planning

Proper consideration and planning can help you receive the care that is right for you. You can discuss your wishes with your family and your healthcare team, or you can write a specific advanced care plan.  This plan can be regularly reviewed as your illness develops and your needs and wishes change.

There are lots of questions to think about. There could include whether there are any treatments that you would refuse to have, whether you would like to be resuscitated if your breathing or your heart stops and where you would like to spend the end of your life, whether it as at home, in hospital or in a hospice. Wherever you are cared for, you are entitled to high-quality care as you approach the end of your life.

Five priorities of care

Experts in palliative treatments have identified the five most important aspects of end of life care. You should expect your healthcare team to address all of these in your final days.

  • You should be seen regularly by a doctor to monitor your medication and your developing treatment needs. If your doctor believes that you may die soon, they should explain this to you and to the people close to you.
  • The professionals involved in your care should communicate sensitively and honestly with you and the people that are important to you.
  • Decisions about your treatment and care should be made in conjunction with you and your family.
  • The needs of your family and loved ones should be considered and met as far as possible.
  • A plan of care that addresses your specific needs should be agreed with you and delivered with kindness, compassion and respect.

Your choices together with your comfort and wellbeing are absolutely paramount. The doctors, nurses and other professionals caring for you should all be working to help you and the people that are important to you as you reach the end of your life. They can support you to live as well as possible for your final days and hours and to die with dignity.

Find out more about the range of palliative care services that we offer throughout London.