When you or your loved one enters the final stages of a terminal illness, it becomes evident that the end of life is near.
At this point, you should focus on making them as comfortable as possible so they can live their last few days, months, or years in peace, surrounded by their loved ones.
During this time, you should provide them with palliative care at home to manage symptoms, pain, and stress. At the same time, hospice care can offer you and your loved one care and support to help ease their condition.
End of stage caregiving is an emotional process. Caregivers, even with years of experience, often feel grief, loss, sorrow, and anxiety, along with other complicated emotions. That is why having extra support during this time helps.
Who Provides End-of-Life Care?
End-of-life care can be provided by nurses, doctors, counselors, hospice staff, physiotherapists, social care staff, or other professionals.
If you opt for hospice care at home, a team of professionals will work together to ensure the patient’s symptoms are well-managed so their last days can be spent comfortably, surrounded by their loved ones.
Where Is End-Of-Life Care Given?
You can provide end-of-life care in different places. These include:
- Your home
- A hospice
- A care home
- A hospital
What is Palliative Care?
If you have an incurable illness, palliative care providers make sure you’re comfortable by providing symptom management.
It also involves providing emotional and psychological support to the patient and their families. This is why it’s also called a holistic end-of-life approach as it deals with the patient as a whole person, and doesn’t just focus on their illness or symptoms.
Patients can get palliative care when they first learn about having a terminal illness. It can be given during ongoing treatment until the end when they’re close to the end of the life.
When Does End-of-Life Care Start?
End-of-life care should start when you feel like you or your loved one needs it. It can last a few days, months, and sometimes over a year.
This includes people whose death is approaching, including those who:
- Have an advanced terminal illness like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, etc.
- Have pre-existing conditions that put them at a higher risk of dying
- Are frail and have underlying conditions
- Have a life-threatening condition caused by a catastrophic event, e.g., stroke or an accident.
Providing At-Home End-of-Life Care
If your loved one is approaching the end of their life, put their comfort first to make the most of the time they have left.