Palliative care is about making someone as comfortable as possible during their illness and treatment for it. This includes:
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Palliative doesn’t always mean that a person is dying so it can start at any point during a period of illness. Because it is used to make people as comfortable as possible, palliative care may be used to support other treatments that are particularly difficult, stressful or invasive. It helps to make life as easy as possible for both the person experiencing illness and their family and carers.
Palliative care can be given by specialists in their fields, your GP, community nurses and home care nurses. Although certain aspects of palliative care require specialist knowledge, it also covers a wide range of other services. Assessment of your needs may come from your doctor, but pain relief or complementary therapies may require support from palliative care specialists.
Palliative care is generally considered to be split into two main types: General and Specialist.
General care can include:
Specialist care covers the services that general care providers cannot give. This includes:
Palliative care is available through the NHS and some voluntary organisations, or you may seek to use a private specialist care provider.
When we are unwell, it is often comforting to be at home amongst familiar surroundings and people. This is why some people choose to receive palliative care at home. It may also be a necessity if they are unable to travel to and from hospitals or therapists due to illness.
Palliative home care can involve:
As we mentioned, some people receive palliative care at home rather than in a hospital or hospice. This could be through choice or necessity, but in either case, a plan will be put in place to help manage your care.
You can choose to have a live-in carer or receive regular home visits. And when you are looking for palliative home care you will need to ask questions to help you find the best fit for you or a loved one. You may wish to refer to our Questions to ask when looking for a home nursing advice piece, as some of the important queries you may have are similar.
A palliative home care plan will need to include:
As with any kind of home nursing, you will need to discuss your requirements with whoever you choose to provide the care. You must get bespoke care, tailored to your needs.
Some care providers may be able to work alongside other palliative care resources such as Marie Curie Nurses
Being at home is comforting for a lot of people, especially when we are not feeling well. Receiving palliative care at home can relieve stress and means you are surrounded by people you know and trust, as well as your belongings and home comforts.
Visiting times at hospitals or in hospices can be limited. At home, friends and family can visit you when it suits you. It also means that you can get round-the-clock care from a dedicated carer, instead of waiting for ward rounds. Your carer can help you to keep family updated, instead of them having to wait a little longer for an update.