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When should someone be offered palliative care?

The topic of palliative care can be particularly tricky to navigate for everyone involved. We all hope our loved ones will get better but unfortunately, we sometimes have to prepare for the worst. At such an emotional time, it can understandably be hard to know what to do and when to do it.

In this blog post, we explore all the common questions family and friends have and offer information on when palliative care might be the best option.

What is palliative care?

If your parent or loved one has been told that they may not get better, end-of-life care and support services (also known as palliative care) provide treatment and assist with managing pain and other symptoms, resulting from a complex or terminal illness (such as cancer) while they are approaching the end of their life.

The aim is to ensure that your loved one receives the best possible medical care and spiritual support, whilst maintaining a good quality of life. Click here to find out more on the NHS website.

When should palliative care be considered?

In most cases, palliative care could be considered as early as the moment of diagnosis of a potentially life-threatening condition. Although palliative care tends to be offered as an end-of-life type of care, this doesn’t have to be the case. Palliative care is available to people at any stage of treatment and is often a valid form of respite care.

In the case of a life-limiting chronic condition that does not represent a threat to life, we can help a loved one manage pain and symptoms in their daily life, giving them access to doctors and nurses who are familiar with their care plan and can help to implement it until the condition subsides, or is cured.

The main thing to remember is that palliative care is always the choice of your loved one. Even if medical professionals haven’t suggested that a condition is life-threatening, your loved one is entitled to decide whether side effects would be too difficult to manage or opt against taking medication.

Does palliative care have to take place in a hospice?

There is a common misconception that end of life care has to take place in a hospice, but this isn’t the case. Towards end-of-life care, it may be that a hospice is required, but it may be entirely possible to have access to a palliative care team while remaining at home.

In this case, health and social care professionals would visit your loved one at home, allowing them to remain where they feel comfortable with no compromises made on the quality of care given.

How do I organise care at home?

If you would like to find out more about palliative care at home, why not get in touch? We can help you to explore the options available to you based on the condition in question and your location, to make sure that your loved one gets the care they deserve.

We can work closely with their current medical team to create a care plan that results in minimum disruption to your life, helping you to carry on doing what you do best.

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