End-of-life care is sensitive for all involved and you only get one chance to get this final experience right for both the resident and their loved ones.
As a care home delivering palliative and end-of-life care, we uphold specific values to ensure the highest quality of care for residents during this delicate and challenging time. These values are essential to promote dignity, respect and compassionate support for individuals approaching the end of their lives. We prioritise and embrace four key values throughout the process of providing this type of specialist care. These values are care, compassion, comfort and credibility. Here are the details:
We strive to provide the highest standards of care with dignity and respect for our residents regardless of their health status, during this difficult time.
In the context of end-of-life care, maintaining a person’s dignity involves recognising their worth, autonomy and individuality. We are huge advocates of personalised care planning to help achieve this.
Our care home staff involve the resident in the development of their end-of-life care plan as much as possible, considering their preferences, values and goals. As an example, a resident who has a terminal illness, may express a desire to maintain a particular daily routine, such as reading a favourite book or eating specific foods. The care team will respect these wishes and do their best to incorporate them in the resident’s care plan, allowing for sense of autonomy and individuality.
We navigate topics such as pain management, treatment options, and the overall approach to their care, as well as personal touches such as which music they would like played during end-of-life care, and who they’d like to be present.
We also recognise and honour the cultural and spiritual aspects of a resident’s identity. Our carers inquire about, and respect the resident’s cultural and religious beliefs, incorporating them into end-of-life care practices. For example, if a resident from a specific cultural background expresses a preference for prayers during their final days, the care team will coordinate with community members to facilitate these wishes, demonstrating respect for the resident’s cultural and spiritual autonomy.
End of life care is an emotional time for all involved, which is why we ensure all the needs of our residents are looked after and they are made as comfortable as possible.
End-of-life care should address not only the physical symptoms but also the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the resident. A holistic approach ensures a comprehensive and well-rounded care plan. Complementary therapies such as our Namaste care programme and music therapy sessions are always well received by residents, particularly those receiving palliative and end-of-life care.
We collaborate closely with doctors and nurses who can provide the 24-hour care that end-of-life residents need, and our team makes sure that they (and their loved ones) are comfortable and peaceful at this challenging time.
End-of-life care requires an elevated level of compassion and empathy. Staff are attuned to the emotional needs of residents and their families, providing empathy, consideration, and the respect that they deserve during this challenging time and loved ones can expect that same level of compassion when visiting our homes.
Individuals receiving end-of-life care in our homes often experience changes in mood and behaviour. These shifts can include withdrawal from loved ones and a sense of disconnection. Several factors contribute to these changes. Firstly, physical decline due to underlying health conditions can lead to fatigue, pain, and weakness, influencing mood. Secondly, the psychological process of facing mortality involves introspection and contemplation, contributing to shifts in behaviour. Emotional distress, stemming from fear, sadness, or unresolved issues, is another factor. Spiritual and existential reflections may prompt periods of solitude or introspection.
Communication challenges, often related to physical symptoms or medication side effects, can hinder effective expression and contribute to a perceived withdrawal from interpersonal relationships. It’s essential to recognise that these changes are individualised, and not everyone will experience them in the same way. Our empathetic caregivers are professionals and are trained to respond with sensitivity, offering tailored support to address the unique emotional and psychological needs of each resident.
The carers’ role in facilitating open communication with both the individual and their loved ones plays a crucial role in understanding and addressing these changes during the end-of-life journey. A caregiver offering a comforting presence, actively listening to residents’ concerns, and expressing empathy for their emotional and physical struggles is invaluable during this time.
You can expect honesty and transparency from our team throughout the end-of-life care process, supporting residents and their families in every way possible.
Open and transparent communication is crucial for residents, families, and staff because it fosters trust, helps manage expectations, and ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding the resident’s care plan.
Residents should be empowered to make choices about their care, where possible, and have control over aspects of their daily lives. This includes decisions about their end-of-life care, such as treatment options and preferred settings.
End-of-life care is not just about the resident; it involves their family and loved ones too. Whilst we empower residents to make their own choices, we also encourage regular family meetings to discuss the resident’s condition, treatment options, and care goals, as well as providing updates on changes in the resident’s health. Adopting open communication and involving family members in the decision-making process recognises their role in supporting the resident’s autonomy and individual needs.
Effective collaboration among healthcare professionals, caregivers, and families is essential for providing seamless and coordinated end-of-life care. We hold regular interdisciplinary team meetings involving doctors, nurses, social workers, and other healthcare professionals to discuss and coordinate the resident’s care plan.
If you are uncertain of the difference between end-of-life and palliative care, check out our detailed guide here.
The Future Care Group is proud to have been recognised as one of the top 20 recommended care home groups in the country by the UK’s leading care home reviews website www.carehome.co.uk.
If you would like to see our care teams in action or you would like to find out more about our palliative and end-of-life care provision, why not book a visit for a first-hand experience.