Palliative Care and End of Life Care in Cumbria
Providing palliative care that supports people to die peacefully in the comfort of their own home, surrounded by family and friends is a privilege for all of our home care teams.
People often need palliative care arranged quickly so they can leave hospital and come home to die, and our team will always help to accommodate this. Our out-of-hours system means that support for people can be arranged 24/7.
Our in-home carers help to ensure people are comfortable by providing emotional support, hands-on nursing and personal care, medication help,pain management and domestic assistance.
Palliative care in Cumbria is organised using a joined-up approach between general practitioners, district nurses, hospitals and care providers. We have worked alongside local health teams delivering palliative care for over 20 years.
Palliative Care and End-of-Life Care: What is the difference?
Palliative care is a form of healthcare that improves the quality of life for a person and their family at the very end of their life. It often involves assessing a person’s needs in a holistic way, taking into account not only their physical comfort but also spiritual, cultural and psychological needs and wishes.
End of Life care is often for a longer period when a person’s illness is not curable, but they may live for up to a year after their diagnosis. During this time healthcare professionals will discuss their needs, wishes and preferences and plan their palliative care.
Palliative and End of Life Care: How we provide support.
Our home carers are very experienced in providing palliative care throughout Cumbria and have taken part in ‘The Six Steps End of Life Care’ training program. This is a nationally recognised award used in health and social care, aimed at improving care for people at the end of their life.
The Six Steps Program
These are the six steps that our care team follow to provide the best palliative care:
Identifying a person that needs support
Carers help to identify people that may be in their last years of life so that discussions about end-of-life care can be organised and the person can be supported to communicate their wishes. This will usually be in conjunction with a nurse or GP.
Making an early assessment and understanding their preferences
An early assessment of a person’s needs, and wishes is facilitated to establish their choices but also to identify any unmet needs they might have. This assessment takes into consideration a person’s physical, psychological, social, spiritual, cultural and environmental needs. Not everyone wants to have these discussions, and this is always respected, but people are given the opportunity to communicate their preferences if they wish.
Working with health partners
Before palliative care begins, we work with health partners to design a care plan that is based on the person’s individual choices and preferences. We know that the person dying, and their family, don’t want to repeat all the same details to nurses, care providers and hospitals, so we share information between us. We always ensure that everyone is happy with the care plan before proceeding.
Privacy, dignity and respect
People should expect the same quality of palliative care regardless of where they live. Training is provided to carers and those workers involved in discussing a person’s choices and preferences about end-of-life care. Privacy, dignity and respect for the person and their family are central to our care delivery.
Recognising when death is approaching
Our staff know how to recognise when a person enters the dying phase and take the appropriate actions such as contacting other professionals for advice, pain management and health assessments. Any possible changes to the care plan are discussed with family and friends.
After the person has passed away
Family and friends are signposted to organisations that will help them cope with their loss. The end-of-life care provided is reviewed and any improvements are identified to support continuous improvement in palliative care. Staff are also supported and encouraged to reflect on their experiences.
Will I have to pay for palliative in-home care in Cumbria?
When you’re nearing the end of your life and your health is deteriorating quickly, then you should be considered for the NHS continuing healthcare fast track pathway. A care support package is normally arranged within 48 hours and paid for by the NHS. A nurse or other healthcare practitioner will take care of the necessary assessments required.
Whether you or the person you love needs palliative care then it can be normal to feel overwhelmed, tired and emotional. You might be unsure about who to ask for help or feel too exhausted to tell family and friends how you’re feeling. We’ve created the group Care Begins at Home where you can connect with other people in a similar situation or find advice and useful resources.