Rather than simply focusing on the physical aspects of your illness, palliative care incorporates psychological, social and spiritual care for you and your loved ones.
What does palliative care do?
Palliative care mainly aims to improve quality of life for people with late stage dementia and help them live it to the fullest. To achieve this goal, palliative care will:
- Help to manage physical symptoms like pain
- Provide emotional, spiritual or psychological support
- Provide support with daily practicalities like house cleaning, eating or getting dressed
- Help loved ones to cope
Eligibility for palliative care
You can receive palliative care for dementia, cancer, or any other serious, long-lasting or life-threatening illness.
Your care can start as soon as you receive a diagnosis, during treatment or at the later stages.
Palliative care can be provided in different settings, depending on the needs of the person. The four main ways are:
- Palliative care in hospitals
- Residential palliative nursing in a care home or hospice
- Day care at a hospice
- Palliative home care
Palliative care in hospitals
Palliative care teams work within hospitals to provide hospital staff with specialist advice on pain and symptom control.
They can help hospital staff with discharge plans, or transfers to a hospice, community hospital or care home.
If an older person is in hospital and is still possible for them to be discharged and receive end of life care in another setting, you could apply for NHS continuing healthcare.
This means a care package can be put in place quickly and the NHS will pay for the cost of the care, whether that is in a care home or within a person’s own home.
Residential palliative nursing in a care home or hospice
Hospices offer specialist care and support for people living with any terminal illness. The hospice team is made up of people with specialist end of life skills, including doctors, nurses, social workers, volunteers and religious/spiritual advisers.
Hospices provide compassionate care for people in the last phases of incurable disease so that they may live as comfortably as possible.
The care provided in a hospice is free. Ask your GP about hospice care if this is something that you would like to explore.
Day care at a hospice
Hospices may also offer palliative day care for people with progressive conditions such as dementia, where care and activities are provided during the day and then the person returns to their own home at the end of the day.
Hospice day care will offer enjoyable activities, the opportunity to socialise and meals in a communal setting. Some day hospices can also assist with picking people up from home and dropping them off at the end of the day. There may be a charge associated with transportation.
Palliative home care
You can receive palliative care in your own home from NHS healthcare professionals such as your GP, community nurses and specialist palliative care nurses and occupational therapists.
You may also choose to pay for private carers to support you in your own home.
Talk to your GP about this if you feel you need palliative care at home.
Cost of palliative care
The cost of palliative care varies depending on the complexity of your needs and the setting in which the care is received.
Some people may require more support than others so providing an exact estimate is difficult. For a better idea of the expected costs, it’s best to speak with one of our dedicated care consultants by calling 0800 048 8618.
Palliative care and end of life care
Palliative care is often confused with end-of-life care as there are many overlaps and similarities. However, end-of-life care is only one stage of palliative care. You shouldn’t think of palliative care as giving up or death, but rather as support so you can focus on what matters most.
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