The most life-affirming moments can come out of the bleakest of situations. Making choices about where to receive Palliative care is challenging, intensely personal, and may be dependent on medical advice. The fact that we can have options at all is in itself a gift unavailable to countless others in the world. But, when emotions are running high, it can be hard to maintain the right level of perspective to see things objectively. Read on for the insights you need to make informed decisions about what might be best for you or a loved one.
Weighing up the Available Options for Palliative Care
Reassessing where we wish to spend the time remaining is a very natural reaction when faced with difficult news. It’s also quite normal to change our minds as we consider our priorities.
We’re all different and what’s right for one person may be totally inappropriate for another. Taking time to talk things through with healthcare professionals, family and friends is a good place to start.
Although we all have the right to express our wishes about where we’d like to live, there are circumstances when our first choice may not be possible.
Palliative Care Explained
The aim of Palliative care is to improve your quality of life. Being comfortable and free from pain is a top priority for many people. Palliative care means delivering pain relief without dealing with its cause.
With the right support, it might be possible to achieve this goal while living at home. If not, a hospice or hospital may be the right solution. Some people might find they can carry on living at home but use some of the services available at a hospice.
No individual’s circumstances will be the same. Palliative care is not only for the end of life. It’s possible to receive Palliative care at an earlier stage of a person’s illness. They may be undergoing other therapies to treat their condition at the same time.
Different kinds of healthcare professionals make up Palliative care teams. They will manage the care of those with an incurable illness or condition. As specialists, they will also advise and include other professionals in a person’s care plan.
It’s quite possible to take a holistic approach to Palliative care. This means looking after you as a whole person and not simply dealing with the symptoms of your condition. Palliative care can therefore include psychological, social, and spiritual support.
Your doctor and other medical professionals will be able to advise you. The kinds of palliative care services available at home include:
- Assistance with dressing, bathing, and using the toilet
- Help with adherence to taking medication
- Emotional and physical pain management
- Help with moving around the home
- Housekeeping duties
- Preparing meals
- Errands like grocery shopping and picking up prescriptions
- Company and companionship
Our team at Comfort Keepers is able to provide many of these Palliative home care services. Many people prefer to get the care they need at home. That’s often because they want to surround themselves with their loved ones in a familiar setting.
If a family member or friend will be helping to care for you, it’s important to consider whether they’re able to provide you with all the care you want or need. How challenging are they likely to find this? What support will they need? Talk things through with them.
Being the carer of a family member who is in the final months or weeks of their life is very painful to deal with. This can be especially true if their condition gets progressively worse. Planning is essential no matter how hard it is to talk about.
Hospice Care and the Services Available
Palliative care is a key component of what hospices are able to offer. Hospices provide this kind of care for all those with a terminal illness. This does not always mean end-of-life care. It can be available from the moment a person gets a terminal diagnosis.
Hospice care includes medical and nursing support. Some people will stay in a hospice for several days or weeks at a time and receive specialist care. They might then return home. Some hospices may be able to offer a level of care in your home.
Most hospices will provide extra support on top of medical care. This can include spiritual, emotional, and social assistance. There is a range of complementary therapies available that might also be useful for family and friends.
The grieving process for loved ones can begin at the same time as end-of-life care. It’s important that friends and family also get the level of support that they need to help them cope with any impending or gradual sense of loss.
Hospices will have a team of professionals connected to them. These range from physiotherapists to hospital consultants, specialist nurses, and occupational therapists. They will work together with any health professionals already involved in your care plan.
Hospital care and Nursing Homes
If you suddenly become unwell or need tests and treatment, you may need to go straight to a hospital. Many hospitals have Palliative care units. The staff there will help manage symptoms and offer emotional support and information for you and your family.
Some people may opt for a care home or nursing home if they can no longer manage at home. In a care home, staff will be available at night as well as during the day.
A nursing home is similar to a residential care home, it will have qualified nurses on duty. If your health means you’re in constant need of nursing care, then this type of home may be more appropriate for you.
Getting the Right Support
At Comfort Keepers, we understand decisions about Palliative care involve very personal choices. What we can do is be there with the services to support anyone who wishes to live out their remaining days with dignity and in their own home.
Whatever your situation, get in touch with us now to find out how Comfort Keepers can help you through these difficult and challenging times.