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 care. Highly trained, compassionate carers are able to offer whatever support is needed.
End of life care is a similar type of care. It also focuses 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 focused 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, the 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. 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:
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. They are best categorised according to where they are provided.
Hospital Palliative Care
The most common type 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.
Generally, it 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 this type of 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 it. 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 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 are then able to return to their own home each night.