Palliative Care at Home

Palliative Care at Home

While most terminally ill people die in hospital, many would prefer to die at home. But funding constraints and medical models mean it’s a choice not often available. The aim of home palliative care is to achieve the best possible quality of life for the person with a life-limiting illness and to provide a special end-of-life care service in familiar surroundings, with family and other loved ones at hand. Real palliative management includes a holistic and integrated approach that looks after the whole person, not just their physical symptoms but also their psychosocial and spiritual needs.

The service is provided by specially trained community care workers who work as part of the existing multidisciplinary community palliative care teams. Care provided is determined by the patient and their family in consultation with the community palliative care team and may include assistance with personal hygiene, domestic assistance and shopping-providing¬† cares with vital support during the end of life stage. In consultation with the Community Palliative Care team and the patient’s doctor, it may also include basic nursing care. the delivery of end of life care may be consecutive hours or may be spread over several weeks.

The great benefit of this care is that the family can focus more fully on the needs of their loved one and can make the most of their final time together, knowing that there is professional care support at hand to help them through this most important and difficult time. All care workers are trained in pain and symptom management; grief, loss and self care; essence and ethical issues in palliative; and most importantly communication.

Patients who have expressed a wish to diet at home or remain at home for a long as possible are subject to few criteria:

  • The patient should have either a deteriorating or terminal condition.
  • Family care is physically/emotionally unable to continue care at home without support.
  • There is limited family support.
  • There are specific cultural/spiritual issues necessitating extra support.
  • Functional ability of patient is poor.

When treatment is no longer likely to work, palliative care is there to help patients live in the comfort of their home and die with dignity.