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What does end-of-life care mean and how is it provided at the Future Care Group?

End-of-life care embodies a compassionate approach dedicated to providing comfort and support for individuals entering the final stages of their life. It is not unusual for end-of-life-care to be confused with palliative care but, in fact, there are several differences between end-of-life and palliative care provisions.

Broadly speaking, palliative care is categorised as the care received by people in the last year of life, whereas end-of-life refers to the last few days, or maybe week of life. Sue Roberts, Head of Quality and Compliance and Senior Risk Manager at the Future Care Group, adds:

“Because the average stay length of people coming into our care homes has now dropped to nine months, you could say that most of our residents are palliative, because they’re in the last year of life. People in the last stage of their lives need a personalised and integrated approach to their care to enable them to end their journey well, and in the way they want. We only have one chance to get end-of-life care right. If we don’t, the families that have trusted us with their treasured loved one are going to remember that forever.”

Here at the Future Care Group, our mission is to ensure that residents and their families experience this delicate phase with the utmost care, empathy, and respect. 

Our devoted team, comprised of skilled healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, and counsellors, collaborates to offer a holistic approach to end-of-life care. As we transition from curative treatments, our focus shifts towards palliative care where the primary aim is to enhance the quality of life for our residents before they move into end-of-life.

Incorporating our ‘LIFE’ strategy in end-of-life care

As with all care that we provide, we incorporate our ‘LIFE’ strategy into end-of-life care provision to ensure that a resident’s needs and wishes are carried out when the time comes.

  • Listen – we listen to residents, staff, relatives, and other healthcare professionals, sharing ideas of how we can develop our approach to end-of-life care and acting on the feedback we receive to help our residents continue to live a meaningful life up until the end.
  • Interact – we communicate with all our residents and understand the importance of involving them in daily life where possible. We encourage socialising with other residents and participating in activities where possible. 
  • Freedom – we make sure that our residents enjoy as much freedom and independence as possible. They can make their own choices and can continue to enjoy the interests that have always brought them joy for as long as possible. 
  • Engage – we engage with residents and their loved ones so that we can improve their health and wellbeing whilst in our care. And when the inevitable happens, we will be with our residents and their loved ones, every step of the way. 

Key aspects of our end-of-life care​

Key aspects of our end-of-life care include:

Communication and decision-making

Open and honest communication is central to our approach. We facilitate discussions about the prognosis, available treatment options, and end-of-life preferences. We encourage these conversations as early on as possible so that residents can still articulate their wishes regarding life-sustaining treatments, care provision, and any unfulfilled aspirations. Knowing what people want in those final stages of life is crucial. 

Sue adds “We are always keen to find out if a resident has any dreams, wishes or aspirations when they first come to us, to see if we can fulfil them during their final months with us. One lady that always stands out in my mind is a 56-year-old resident dying of breast cancer. She told me that she would love to ride her motorbike one last time. Whilst she was too sick to ride a bike herself, I did get in touch with the local Harley Davidson group who visited the home one summer’s afternoon and took her out in the sidecar. She died a few weeks after that, but she did fulfil that last wish. It is so important for us to know what people want while they are still able to tell us.  

What sort of music do they want in their room? Would they like Namaste sessions? Do they want family there? We need to know all those physical, psychological, and social interventions so we can make sure that when that person moves into end-of-life, we know exactly how they wish to pass away. Then we need to get it right.”

Pain and symptom management

We prioritise the comfort of our residents by diligently addressing physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, and respiratory challenges. We are even able to monitor pain levels when a resident is unable to express this to us themselves thanks to our PainChek® app. PainChek® is a genius AI app that monitors slight pain levels, making it ideal for residents receiving end-of-life care (or suffering with dementia) who may not be able to articulate they are in pain. Our carers can use their handset to scan a resident’s face and the app will pick up micro changes in a person’s face which highlight they are experiencing pain and what level of pain they are in. This helps their nurse understand if analgesia is needed or if it needs to be reviewed in any way. 

Emotional and spiritual support

Our compassionate staff provides counselling, emotional support, and spiritual care, ensuring that both residents and their families find solace during this challenging time. Our Namaste Care Programme has been very well received with residents and families since its launch in 2022. 
The two basic principles of Namaste Care are to create a calm environment and to provide all activities and interactions with an unhurried, loving approach. Some of the benefits we’ve seen of Namaste care include non-verbal residents starting to speak again, and residents who might be anxious or agitated settling after attending a Namaste session. Families and loved ones will also be encouraged to take part in Namaste. We recently carried out Namaste for a resident who was actively dying; she appeared to be unsettled and this was upsetting the family who were present. During the session the resident settled and dozed off which gave the family a lot of comfort.

Practical and logistical support

Recognising the multifaceted nature of end-of-life concerns, we assist residents and their families with practical matters, including financial considerations, legal aspects, and the coordination of care. In embracing the principles of dignity and autonomy, we empower residents to make choices about their care, ensuring that their final days are filled with meaning and comfort. We strive to create an environment where compassion and understanding define every aspect of a resident’s final days with us.

If you or a loved one are in need of end-of-life carewhy not book a visit to one of our homes? Alternatively, call 02045 710 368 or email and a member of our team would be happy to help.

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