Questions about end of life care

January 3, 2024 End of Life Care, Palliative care

Questions about end of life care

End of life care is different for each person. Each individual will have unique needs, advice, care and support during this time. End of life care will no doubt bring about questions from both the patient and their loved ones. Therefore it is important to ensure you discuss any questions and concerns you have throughout with your healthcare team . Any healthcare team that will be providing care through such a difficult time are always willing to answer and support all those involved. It might be helpful to write some questions out beforehand to ensure you know what is happening every step of the way.

Questions to ask about care in the last days of life

What does end of life care mean?

End of life care refers to a specialised and compassionate approach to healthcare provided to individuals who are in the final stages of a terminal illness or nearing the end of their life. This type of care is focused on enhancing the quality of life, managing  symptoms, and offering emotional and psychological support.

It encompasses a range of services, including pain management, hospice care, and palliative care, with the overarching goal of ensuring that individuals can live their remaining days as comfortably and peacefully as possible, while addressing their unique physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

What are the signs that end of life is approaching?

While it’s difficult to know when someone is going to die, there are common signs that may indicate the last days or hours of life. These may include:

  • Restlessness, confusion or agitation
  • Increased sleep or periods of drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irregular breathing or pauses in breathing
  • Swelling, coldness or blue colouring in the hands or feet
  • Reports of seeing someone who has already died
  • Gurgling or crackling sounds with breathing

Can I choose where I wish to die?

Choosing where to die can be hard to think about. But whether you want to die at home, in a hospice, in a nursing home or in hospital, being in the right place for you can be really important. Your needs may change over time, but most people find it helpful to think about their choices before they become too ill.

We work to support patients and their families with sensitive and comforting end-of-life care.  We understand that at such a stressful and sensitive time specialist nursing care and trustworthy support can make a huge difference during end of life care. Our team of Homecare Managers, Registered Nurses and Carers have a wealth of end of life care experience and are experts at providing practical and emotional support.

Questions for family members, friends or other people important to the person who is dying

How long can my loved one expect to live?

Patients and their family members often want to know how long a person is expected to live to help them prepare. Factors such as the illness the patient has if they have contracted an infection can affect this. Although doctors may be able to make a prognosis / an estimate based on what they know about the patient, they might be hesitant to do so. The doctor would want to be honest with your loved one and not provide false hope.

What are some ways that I can provide emotional support for my loved one?

 Everyone has different needs, but some emotions are common to most dying patients. Fear of abandonment, of being a burden, loss of dignity and most of all loss of control are just some of these factors. There are many ways you can provide emotional support as follows:

  • Just be there – talk, watch movies, read, or just be with the person.
  • Allow the person to express fears and concerns about dying, such as leaving family and friends behind. These may be a difficult conversation, but all you can do is be there to listen.
  • Reminisce about the person’s life and all the memories you share.
  • Avoid withholding difficult information. Your loved ones should be included in discussions about issues that concern them.
  • Reassure the patient that you will honour advance directives, such as living wills.
  • Respect your loved ones’ privacy if they need it.

What can I do to make my loved one more comfortable during this time?

 It’s important to know steps you can take to provide comfort during the last days and hours before death. Here are a few ways of providing comfort:

  • Not eating – feed small spoonful’s of food. Use ice chips or a damp sponge to keep the mouth moist.
  • Skin irritation – apply lotion to the skin to soothe and adjust the bed position to avoid sores.
  • Pain – give the pain medication as instructed by the doctor.
  • Confusion –  Speak calmly and be reassuring. Hold hands or use a gentle touch if it’s comforting. Remind the person where he or she is and who is there.

Some families opt for medical support for their loved ones in order to enjoy what little time they have left with them. Whether your loved one requires a Carer or Registered Nurse, Cavendish Homecare can provide the much needed superior care in your home.

How can Cavendish Homecare help?

At Cavendish Homecare we are experts in providing end of life care for clients who want to remain in their own homes. When it comes to your health and well-being, choosing the right homecare package is of utmost importance and navigating this process can be overwhelming. With Cavendish Homecare by your side, you’ll have the support you need to remain safely at home.

If you would like to enquire about end of life care, contact us on, 02030085210 or email us at