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Does Palliative Mean End of Life?

Are Palliative & End of Life Care the Same Thing?

When someone begins their Palliative care journey, they are embarking on a plan of treatment, care and support for a life-limiting condition. Palliative care isn’t just for the person themselves though, it will also include emotional support for their loved ones, to ensure that the person lives as good a quality of life as possible in their last years or months.

End of life care comes at the end of the palliative care journey once treatments are completed, so although part of the same process, they are not the same thing. Palliative care can last for weeks or months depending on the condition the person is living with, so just because someone begins palliative care it does not mean they’re about to pass away.

Palliative Care

Life-limiting illnesses are sometimes called terminal illnesses, and they include conditions such as dementia, Motor Neurone Disease and advanced-stage cancer. Palliative care is focused on a ‘whole person’ approach, meaning that support encompasses every aspect of your life, including physical symptoms such as pain management, emotional and spiritual support, practical support with your everyday care needs, and emotional support for family and friends.

Palliative care is offered when the illness cannot be cured, however treatments should be offered that will make sure the person lives their best life possible in the time they have left. Marie Curie’s website explains, “You can also have palliative care alongside treatments, therapies and medicines aimed at controlling your illness, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.”

End of Life Care

End of life care, as the name suggests, takes place when it becomes clear to healthcare professionals that the person’s condition is entering its last stage. End of life care can begin anytime in the last year of the person’s life, although “this timeframe can be difficult to predict,” so some people only receive it “in their last weeks or days”, according to the Marie Curie website. Involving a person’s loved ones in their plans and wishes for the end of their life is important, if the person desires it, because they will also need support to face the difficult times that are to come. Being aware of what the person’s last wishes are for their care and beyond is important, so that their loved ones can carry out their wishes just as they wanted it.

The Role of Palliative Care at The End of Life

Palliative care at the end of a person’s life is primarily about ensuring the person gets to die with dignity, and that their wishes for the end of their life are respected and carried out. Palliative care can be carried out wherever you wish, in places such as a hospital, hospice, care home or receiving care at home.

As the NHS website says, “You have the right to express your wishes about where you would like to receive care and where you want to die.” End of life care should always be tailored to the person’s wishes and needs, and make sure that it supports the person to maintain the best quality of life possible.

Palliative Support from Helping Hands

Helping Hands have been supporting our customers to live their best lives possible in their own homes since we were founded in 1989, and in that time we have provided many people with palliative and end of life care and helped them to die with dignity. Our amazing private carers will support every aspect of your care routine as well as your family’s emotional needs, and are selected to work for us because of their high levels of empathy and compassion.

Remaining at home for your palliative care is beneficial because you can continue to look out at a beloved garden, treasured view or have your family around you all the time without worrying about restrictions or visiting times. You can be confident in our assurances that we’ll always provide the highest standards of care and support, thanks to being fully regulated by the Care Quality Commission and Care Inspectorate Wales. If you’d like to learn more about our palliative and end of life care services, please call us seven days a week or contact us via our website.

Page reviewed by Rebecca Bennett, Regional Clinical Lead on November 30, 2021