A Guide to Palliative Care

palliative

Compassionate Care When It’s Needed Most

Coping with a terminal illness is a struggle for everyone involved. Those living with a terminal illness and their loved ones need specialist support and care to help them through. From practical support with pain management to offering a shoulder to cry on, palliative care is critical.

Compassionate palliative care can make the most difficult days that little bit easier. It allows a patient and their loved ones to make the most of what time they have left. It can also provide much-needed companionship to lonely individuals in their last days.

Palliative care is provided by hospitals, care homes, and hospices. Many of the establishments Newcross work with are adept at providing specialist palliative care. Highly trained, compassionate carers are able to offer whatever support is needed.

End of life care is similar to palliative care. It also focusses on a patient’s comfort and wellbeing toward the end of their life. Many of our own specially selected staff are experienced in providing end of life care. Our end of life care is focussed on allowing a client to live as well as possible in the time they have left.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a specialised form of care for a person with a terminal illness. As the illness cannot be cured, palliative care’s focus is on making a patient as comfortable as possible during their final days. Things like pain management and the alleviation of distressing symptoms are paramount.

It’s not only practical management of an illness that palliative care is concerned with. It also encompasses emotional, psychological and spiritual support. That’s both for the patient and for their relatives and loved ones. Palliative care is closely associated with end of life care. It is not, however, only provided toward the end of a patient’s illness. It can also be offered in the earlier stages, alongside other therapies to treat their condition. There are lots of different elements to palliative care:

  • Pain Management – Easing pain through medications and other treatments.
  • Alleviating Other Symptoms – Providing highly skilled management of a wide range of symptoms. These can include nausea, constipation etc. Alleviating the management of side effects caused by painkillers can also be important.
  • Personal Care – Help with washing, dressing and using the toilet when required.
  • Continence Care – Changing continence pads or managing catheters and stomas.
  • Company & Emotional Support – Emotional, psychological and spiritual support. Both for a patient and their loved ones. This can include things like providing companionship with a patient over a cup of tea.

Types of Palliative Care

Palliative care is a highly specialised form of care. It requires skilled, compassionate staff with extensive experience. There are three main types of palliative care. They are best categorised according to where they are provided.

Hospital Palliative Care

The most common type of palliative care is provided in a hospital. This is generally delivered over a short period of time and often follows a specific incident which has caused a terminally ill patient to be unexpectedly admitted. Specialist healthcare professionals will monitor symptoms and deliver the required care.

Hospital palliative care is often only provided in extreme circumstances. Once a patient’s most significant symptoms are alleviated, they will likely be discharged. If they cannot return home, they’ll be transferred to one of the establishments mentioned below.

Residential Care Home Palliative Care

Many residential care homes are able to provide palliative care. If they have the specialised staff, they can help a resident to manage their illness on a 24/7 basis. Not all care homes have the capability to provide palliative care. Those which do, may also only be able to provide it in the earlier stages of an illness.

Hospice Palliative Care

Hospices are mostly associated with offering palliative care at the end of a patient’s life. Their staff are all experienced in making those difficult final days as comfortable as possible. Relatives and loved ones are often able to make regular visits. They will also receive support themselves from hospice staff.

Some hospices also provide palliative care in the earlier stages of terminal illnesses. This is often in the form of hospice day care. Patients can visit during the day for treatment, company and support. They’re then able to return to their own home each night.

End of Life Care at Home

An alternative to palliative care is end of life care at home. This service allows people to spend their time at home, surrounded by family, friends, and people who they know and trust. As well a providing reassurance, this type of care can also be a source of peace of mind to the family and friends of the patient.

Being able to provide care at home instead of a hospital or hospice is less disruptive for the patient. Moreover, this is often easier for friends and family who want to visit the patients home. You can also be reassured our nurses and carers provide care that is assessed to the high standards of the Care Quality Commission.

Newcross End of Life Care

Newcross work with many establishments which provide outstanding palliative care. We do not ourselves offer a palliative care service though. What we do provide is compassionate and individual end of life care for elderly individuals.

Our highly skilled staff will always put the individual at the centre of their end of life care provision. Each person’s needs and wishes will be listened to and used to tailor their care. The aim of Newcross end of life care is to make a client’s remaining time as comfortable and happy as possible.

We offer both practical and emotional help to our clients and their loved ones. When the time comes, we also understand the importance of dignity in death. Any and all beliefs or wishes expressed by each individual client will always be respected.

As an organisation, we’re licensed and regulated in England by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). In Scotland, our branches are registered with the Care Inspectorate. For end of life care support in Wales, we’re regulated by the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW).

Our 60+ branches throughout the country receive good or outstanding ratings from the regulatory bodies. To find out how we can help support you in your time of need contact your local Newcross Branch directly. Our friendly staff is here to help.