Palliative or end of life care is support for people who are in the final days, months or years of their life. The goal of this care is to assist a person to live as well as possible until they die, and to allow them to die with dignity. If you have an illness that can’t be cured, palliative or end of life 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.
Who provides this care?
A number of different health professionals may be involved in a person’s end of life care. For example, hospital doctors and nurses, your GP, community nurses, in home carers, hospice staff and counsellors may all be involved, as well as social care staff, chaplains (of all faiths or none), physiotherapists, occupational therapists or complementary therapists.
The people providing your care should ask you about your wishes and preferences, and take these into account as they work with you to plan your care. They should also support your family, caregivers or other people who are important to you. You have the right to express your wishes about where you would like to receive care and where you want to die.
How do I find palliative or end of life assistance?
If you are approaching the end of life, or caring for someone who is, and you want to find out about the care and support available your GP or hospital Social Worker should be able to provide you with contact details for your local palliative care support service. There are a number of organisations available to give advice and assistance to people depending on the region you reside in.