5 stages of palliative care

April 17, 2023 Palliative care

5 stages of palliative care

What is palliative care?

If you have an illness that cannot be cured, palliative care makes you as comfortable as possible by managing your pain and other distressing symptoms. It also involves psychological, social and spiritual support for you and your family or carers. This is called a holistic approach, because it deals with you as a “whole” person, not just your illness or symptoms.

Is palliative care the same as end of life care?

No. Although it can include end of life care, palliative care is much broader and can last for longer. Having palliative care doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re likely to die soon – some people have palliative care for years.

End of life care offers treatment and support for people who are near the end of their life. It usually starts to be offered to those who are thought to be in the last year of their life. The aim is to help someone be as comfortable as possible in the time they have left, as well as making sure that practical things such as wills or wishes are sorted out.

What are the 5 stages of palliative care?

There are five stages of palliative care. Understanding these may help you decide when might be the right time to start the process for you and your loved ones.

Stage one: Create a bespoke care plan 

Palliative care begins with your team of care professionals working alongside you and your family to assess your unique need and goals to create a bespoke care plan that helps everyone involved in your care to support you effectively.

Stage two: Emotional and spiritual care and support 

As you and your loved ones adjust to the news, your palliative care team will provide ongoing emotional support to help you prepare for what’s to come. This can come in various formats such as talking or music therapy to help you find peace and comfort. Your palliative care team are there to ensure that you and your loved ones don’t have to face anything alone if you don’t want to.

Stage three: Manage your treatment

As you get emotionally prepared for the process, your palliative care team will begin to look at all aspects of your care to ensure you live as comfortably, actively, and independently as you can throughout your illness. At home care staff like Cavendish Homecare team are able to relieve some of the burden of care from loved ones so they can focus on quality time with you, in the comfort and familiarity of home. As symptoms progress, families can make the decision to transition to hospice care, while others wish to stay home. In all cases, it is important to do what is best for you and your family.

Stage four: Now and the future

This stage involves arranging inpatient care at a hospital or hospice if wanted. If you don’t want this, but still require more help from medical professionals than previously, residential care can be arranged so that you always get the support you need. This can be done without moving out of your comfort zone. This stage can also encompass the end of life care.

Stage five: Supporting your friends and family

This stage of palliative care focuses on providing bereavement support to the grieving family, friends, and carers, ensuring they receive emotional, spiritual, and psychological support throughout this difficult time. This stage can vary from person to person as the grieving process looks different for everyone, lasting anywhere between weeks to up to 12 months.

At what stage does palliative care start?

One of the main reasons behind palliative care is to assist in the treatment and management of symptoms. It can be implemented whenever you think it will help following a diagnosis. Because this type of care is available for a multitude of diagnoses, all of which impact your loved ones life differently, an exact time frame shouldn’t be given.

How do I get palliative care?

You may need a referral to access palliative care. That means a healthcare professional who is currently caring for you putting you in touch with a local palliative care service or professional. To get a referral, speak with:

  • your GP
  • your district nurse
  • another healthcare professional.

If you are in a hospital, care home or nursing home, or hospice, the healthcare professionals there should be able to arrange palliative care for you.

How can Cavendish Homecare help?

At Cavendish Homecare we are experts in providing Palliative Homecare for individuals with terminal illnesses who want to remain in their own homes. We work to support the patients and their families with sensitive and comforting Palliative care.

If you would like to enquire about our Palliative Care, contact us on, 02030085210 or email us at info@cavendishhomecare.com.

About the Author…

Mairead Liston

Registered Nurse and Founder of Cavendish Homecare

Mairead Liston, a dedicated figure in healthcare, began her journey as a nurse and midwife, laying the foundation for a remarkable career. Driven by passion and expertise, Mairead established a successful nursing agency, serving as a crucial staffing resource for major hospitals in London and the UK.

In 2010, Mairead founded Cavendish Homecare with a mission to provide exceptional care in the comfort of people’s homes. Mairead’s areas of expertise encompass palliative and end of life care, post-operative care, and cancer care, ensuring the delivery of the highest quality of care to her clients.

Her transformative impact is exemplified through prestigious awards, including the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award and the Chief Nursing Officer in Adult Social Care Silver award, recognising her dedicated service to social care.

By becoming a member of the Guild of Freemen of the City of London, Mairead not only emphasises her active support for both current and future nurses but also plays a vital role in contributing to the ongoing evolution of the nursing profession.

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