How Long Does Palliative Care Last?
Palliative care refers to the treatment and support you receive when you have a life-limiting illness, however, it doesn’t mean you are going to die soon. Palliative care can last for a short duration, comprised of a number of days or weeks, but this can also go on for a number of years – the duration is based upon the individual and their needs.
Palliative care exists to ensure you have the best quality of life possible, regardless of how long that is for, and the healthcare professionals you encounter during your palliative care journey will do all they can to support you with that. To help alleviate some of the commonly held misunderstandings surrounding palliative and end of life care, information from the charity Marie Curie includes:
MYTH: Palliative care can only be given in a hospice
FACT: Palliative care can be given in different settings, such as your home, in hospital, in a care home or hospice.
MYTH: Receiving palliative care must mean I’m about to die
FACT: Palliative care can be given at any stage of your illness. Palliative care can be received for years by some people, while others will receive it at the end of their life.
MYTH: Palliative care will only treat my pain and physical symptoms
FACT: There is a ‘whole-person’ approach to palliative care, sometimes called a holistic approach, which means you are seen as the person you are, not defined by your illness. This is to give you the best quality of life possible. A holistic approach should be addressing all of your physical, emotional, spiritual, social and psychological needs.
MYTH: Palliative care is only for me, it won’t help my family and friends
FACT: As part of the ‘whole-person’ approach to your palliative care, medical professionals know that your illness may have a big impact on your loved ones. Your palliative care team will do what they can to help those around you cope.
When During My Illness Can I Get Palliative Care?
Palliative care can last for years in some cases, and you can receive palliative care at any stage throughout your illness, including caring for you at the end of your life. The NHS website states that “Palliative care is not just for the end of life – you may receive palliative care earlier in your illness, while you are still receiving other therapies to treat your condition.”
Even when it becomes clear that your illness cannot be cured, it can still be managed so that you’re as comfortable as possible, which includes managing your pain and any other symptoms. Palliative care also includes holistic approaches, which takes into account psychological, spiritual and social support, not just for you but for your family and carers as well. This approach is very person-centred because it considers you as a ‘whole’, rather than seeing you only as the illness you are living with.
All Helping Hands carers understand the importance of person-centred care when supporting their customers, and whether you are looking for palliative care for yourself or a loved one, you need to know that you’ll be fully supported as your illness progresses and that you’ll receive expert care at home from a company with over 30 years of experience.
Remaining in your own home for palliative care means that you’ll be around loved ones and precious pets who mean the world to you, as well as seeing familiar views from your window every day. The benefit of this to your emotional wellbeing cannot be underestimated, nor can continuing the routines you’ve always enjoyed, whether it’s drinking from a favourite mug, walking to the local shop to collect a paper, or even watching the programmes you love on TV.
At Helping Hands, our clinical nurse team will supervise your complex care needs, while ensuring your carer has all the information and skills they need to effectively care for your condition. We follow the NICE’s guidelines and the NHS recommendations for palliative and end of life care, and because our nursing team has years of experience working in both the NHS and private healthcare settings, you can be sure you’ll be in the best hands with Helping Hands.
Page reviewed by Carole Kerton-Church on March 27, 2023