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Thinking about the end of yours or a loved one’s life can be an emotive and difficult subject, but once broached many people feel that taking control of their end of life care and what happens after they die makes them feel much better, and enables them to make the most of the time they have left.

End of life care provides support for people who are in the last few months or years of their life. The purpose is to help people live as well as possible until they die and to enable them to die with dignity. Caregivers should consider a person’s wishes and preferences, which should be taken into account as care is planned. They should also provide support for family or other people who are important to the person affected.

There are a number of end of life care options. Care can be provided in hospices, hospitals or care homes, or as offered by companies such as ours at Expertise Homecare, in a person’s own home.

Individuals have a right to express where they would like to receive care and where they would like to die.

End of life care includes palliative care. Palliative care makes a person with an illness that can’t be cured as comfortable as possible, by managing pain and other distressing symptoms. The individual and their family or carers will also receive psychological, social and spiritual support. This is called a holistic approach, because it deals with you as a “whole” person.

End of life care should begin when a person needs it and may last a few days, or for months or years.

If you are approaching the end of life, or caring for someone who is, and you want to find out about the care and support available, your first step is to speak to your GP or to call the number your healthcare professionals have given you. Part of a GP’s job is to help you understand which services are available locally.

Taking control

There are a number of other matters you may wish to consider if you are approaching the end of your life.
• Sorting out legal and financial issues, such as making sure you have an up-to-date will and are receiving all the financial support you’re entitled to, especially as care costs can quickly mount.
• Planning your funeral
• Thinking of practicalities, such as what will happen to pets

Age UK has written a fantastic guide called Before You Go which looks and these and other end of life care issues in greater detail


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