Whether you are suffering from a terminal illness or want to plan for the future should you not be able to make decisions for yourself, an End of Life Care Plan details your wishes for your care in the last months or moments of your life.
While it can feel morbid, it is worth thinking about your wishes should you ever be in that position or know the eventual result of your diagnosis. Creating an End Of Life Care plan will ensure your family and friends know whether there are any treatments you do not want to have and aid them in making decisions about your care.
For example, you may wish to refuse CPR should your heart stop, this is called a Do Not Resuscitate Order or a DNACPR. You might also wish to refuse other life sustaining treatments such as mechanical ventilation or antibiotics.
To do this, you can make a legal document called an Advance Decision or ‘living will’ which details your wishes. It can be added to your medical records to ensure health professionals and those caring for you are aware of your wishes.
There are various reasons you may wish to make this decision, such as being worried about the after effects of treatment or your quality of life.
Communicating Your End of Life Care Wishes
It is important to make your family aware of your end of life care wishes so they can make decisions about your care that are in your best interests if you are unable to communicate them yourself. You can document these wishes through the respect process which stands for Recommended Summary Plan For Emergency Care and Treatment.
An Advance Statement is an additional document you can provide to detail any religious or spiritual wishes you have and where you want to be cared for in the last days of your life such as at the hospital, nursing home, hospice or at home. You can also provide details on how you like to do things such as having a bath or shower, or sleeping with a light on.
Other things you may wish to consider are pre-organising your funeral plans and detailing whether you wish to be buried or cremated and any songs or readings you want at your funeral service. You may also wish to write letters or create memory boxes for family or friends to help with their bereavement process. You should consider creating a will to detail your wishes for any dependents such as under 18s or pets as well as the plans for any money or assets you might own.
Organising End of Life Care At Home
It is understandable that many people wish to spend their final days at home, in familiar surroundings where they have memories and are most comfortable.
At Fambridge Care, we can provide end of life care that can be catered to your needs and requirements. Whether that is round the clock live-in care, or daily visits. Our specialist palliative care carers can provide hands on medical and personal care as well as providing practical and emotional support to both you and your family.
Our carers will work with you and your family to ensure your wishes for your final days are met and your End Of Life Care Plan is always followed.
Please get in touch if you would like to find out about our care plans.
When Does End Of Life Care Begin?
End of Life Care begins as and when you need it and might last for hours, days, months or years. However, people are generally considered to be approaching end of life when it is likely they will die within the next 12 months.
This might be due to an incurable illness such as cancer, MS or dementia or because of increasing frailty and co-existing conditions. There might be the risk of a sudden crisis from the condition such as heart condition or they have a life-threatening acute condition that has been caused by a catastrophic event such as an accident or stroke.
Across these final days, pain will be managed, and it will be agreed and understood whether any further life-saving treatment will be carried out based on the patient’s wishes.
Coping With End of Life Care
It can be difficult to come to terms with the prospect of dying for both yourself or your family and friends. There is counselling and support available to both you and your loved ones to process and accept this situation as well as communicate your feelings.
Many hospitals and hospices will direct you to or provide this service, and specialist palliative care professionals will ensure you are treated with the greatest of care and respect during this difficult time.