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A Brief Insight into Palliative Care: What’s Involved?

For people who are helping to look after a loved one with a life-limiting illness the very term ‘palliative care’ can strike panic into the heart, and this is usually because most of us have no idea what palliative care is exactly. Often little is known or understood about end-of-life care so it may help in understanding palliative care to know what’s involved.

How prevalent is the need for palliative care?

According to the Marie Curie Foundation it is recognised that around 75-80% of those with a terminal illness will benefit from palliative care across all parts of the UK, and that the need for palliative care is increasing in line with the average longer lifespan bringing increased likelihood of serious health conditions.

What is palliative care and who provides it?

Palliative, or end-of-life, care provides support in various ways to those in the last weeks or months of their life. It allows them to live as comfortably and as normally as possible for as long as possible. Depending on the type of illness and the circumstances of the patient it will be provided by doctors and nurses, or a dedicated palliative care team. These can include specialist nurses, physio or occupational therapists or consultants trained in palliative medicine.

If someone you love is approaching the end of their life or they need extra care to manage their illness, the first point of call to get palliative care in place is your GP. You can also ask your health care professional to arrange this for you. If your loved one is receiving care in their own home from a live in carer, then they can kick-start the process.

In some cases, a large part of this type of care is about managing pain so medical professionals will assess the type and level of pain in order to provide the appropriate medication and dosage. But it’s not only about pain; symptoms like sickness, constipation, and loss of appetite, which can be debilitating to those with terminal illness, can also be managed.

Care teams understand that caring for someone at the end of life is not just about managing the physical symptoms of their illness but that a more holistic approach is better. To this end palliative care can provide spiritual, psychological and social support for the patient and for their family who also may be suffering distress.

When to arrange end-of-life care

There is no set time or day when palliative care can start. In short, it begins as soon as it is needed and will last for as long as it is needed. In some cases, care is given when a person is only a few days away from dying, in others it could be required for weeks or months. Palliative care is considered for those whose death is expected shortly because of a sudden crisis or unexpected turn in their illness as well as those who are living long term with incurable illnesses such as cancer, dementia or motor neurone disease.

Plan ahead

If you or your loved one are likely to need palliative care then plan ahead to put the right care package in place for when it is needed.

Our carers provide the peace of mind that help and support is always on hand. To find out more about our care services in your own home get in touch now.

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Leave your details and we’ll contact you to answer any questions and schedule your care assessment at your convenience. Alternatively you can email hello@greenwoodhomecare.co.uk or call one of our offices:

Peterborough 01733 808531
Grantham 01476 849522
Cambridge 01223 850938

Home Assessment

We will agree a time to come and visit you in your own home. We will take the time to fully understand your care needs, and provide recommendations as to what type of care is required.

Care delivery

Once agreed, we will begin to deliver the care. Whether hourly, live-in, or night care, we will endeavour to deliver the best possible care.