End of life care

Advance planning for life until the very end

You or your loved one might not want to think or talk about end of life care, and you might find it upsetting to read through this page. However, having these difficult conversations with a loved one or family will ensure that needs and wishes are understood. It will also help to talk to health and social care professionals so that they are aware of what plans are in place.

If you or they don’t feel ready to think about the future at this time, making sure that we know the individual’s values, wishes and beliefs more generally can help.

Specialist skills

Caring for someone during the final days of their life requires specialist skills and understanding. We are committed to making sure that our end of life care respects and upholds a person’s dignity. Our specialist team can assist with any arrangements that you need help with. Above all, our team are here to help you all feel as comfortable as possible during this time.

The care staff have undertaken specialist training in palliative care and work closely with people and their families to provide practical support, advice and understanding.

What is ‘end of life care’?

End of life care aims to support someone in the later stages of a life-limiting condition to live as well as possible until they die. It also seeks to support the family during this time and after the person dies.

Goals of End of Life Care

Our goal is to achieve the best quality of life for you or your loved one, even if that life is likely to be short. Our end of life care plans for four main types of need that may arise towards the end of life, both when death is the result of severe illness and when it is the natural ‘closing down’ that can happen to frail older people.

These needs are:

  • Physical – including pain relief and management of symptoms such as sickness and tiredness. We endeavour to make the individual as comfortable as possible
  • Psychological and emotional health – we provide support to the individual and their loved ones, giving time to listen and understand their concerns
  • Personal relationships – we will give support with practical matters such as getting their affairs in order and support those affected by their passing include those within our own community
  • Spiritual beliefs and needs – many people feel a need to explore feelings about the meaning of life, others may have specific religious or spiritual needs. We will seek outside help, for example through religious representatives, where required

Topics we may discuss:

  • Who cares for the person in their final days
  • Room layout for end of days care – some people prefer to have their bed by the window with a view of the garden, some may prefer to have the curtains closed
  • Whether friends and relatives will visit to say ‘goodbye’
  • External stimulus in the room – some people prefer silence, while others may wish to hear music or have the television on
  • Palliative care
  • What the person does not want
  • Funeral arrangements

Decisions about end of life care can be made over a period of time. This gives individuals and their loved ones the time to think at their own pace and avoid overwhelming feelings. The plan is flexible and changes can be made at any time.

End of life planning with dementia

For a person with dementia, it is important to try to have these conversations as early as possible, while they can make decisions for themselves.

A person in the later stages of dementia may have limited speech and be less able to understand what people are saying to them. Relying only on verbal communication can make it difficult to understand what the person is trying to communicate, which may be that they are in pain, hungry or thirsty.

The person with dementia may communicate their needs and feelings without using speech (non-verbal communication). They may use body language, facial expressions or show agitation. Importantly, the person will still have feelings about what is going on. For example, they may feel happy hearing you talk to them.

If you have questions or require more information, please call and speak to our registered manager or matron on 01283 512915.