End of Life
Being told that you or someone you love and care for has a life limiting illness is tough news to receive. The care an individual needs at this time will be focused upon supporting him or her to have the best possible quality of life, independence and control over their life and care. The following information is aimed at helping both the patient, the people important to him or her and the professional people who are caring for the individual.
Palliative and end of life care is about treatment and care focusing on the needs of the whole person as well as their family, carers and friends. It is not just about managing pain and other symptoms but includes support to deal with emotional needs, social and spiritual needs, care in bereavement and help dealing with the financial effects of facing an end of life situation.
The below 'drop down' sections detail information and signposting relating to this topic:
The 'Be Ready for It' website will help both patients, professionals and carers to talk openly about dying and plan ahead so that you can make or facilitate the right choices about end of life care.
To visit the Be Ready for It website, click this link: www.bereadyforit.org.uk
Be Ready for It includes a series of information leaflets about palliative and end of life care services, which are available. The Advance Care Planning system and documentation, Thinking Ahead, is being used across Norfolk and Waveney to support ongoing conversations about future care planning.
You can read, download and print the following Thinking Ahead documents via the Downloads section on this page, they include:
- Thinking Ahead - Introduction
- Thinking Ahead - Information for You - including information on what an Advance Care Plan is; the difference to an Advance Decision and other useful information
- Thinking Ahead - My wishes for my Advance Care Plan - this is a record of your wishes; issues important to you will be recognized by the health and care team supporting you. It is a voluntary process and does not need to be completed all in one go
- Your guide to decisions about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
These leaflets (as displayed in the "Downloads" section of this page) are patient held documents, referred to as the 'Thinking Ahead' document (also sometimes referred to as the: Yellow Folder), where the patient can keep all of the information relating to their care.
There are also a range of supportive services available to support the patient at this time, which are listed on the NHS Heron website in the specialist directory called "Help When You Need It Most"
Many healthcare professionals can be involved in providing end of life care, depending on your needs. Hospital doctors and nurses, your GP, community nurses, hospice staff and counsellors might all be involved, as well as social services, religious ministers, physiotherapists or complementary therapists.
Most hospitals have special palliative care teams who co-ordinate all these services. As a patient, you have the right to choose where you want to receive care and where you want to die. A palliative care team can provide end of life care to patients and their families in hospitals, care homes, hospices and at home.
The following websites will give more information on End of Life care:
The Norfolk Hospice is an independent charity providing specialist palliative care to those living with a life-limiting illness, whilst supporting their carers and also providing bereavement support.
The Hospice works closely with local GPs, District Nurses, and health and social serives. Most patients are referred to the Hospice by their doctor, nurse or social worker. However patients, their families and their friends are always welcome to contact the Hospice directly.
A range of useful end of life care advice and training resources for professionals can also be found on the Palliative Academy website:
NHS Choices for Professionals - Whether you are a health or social care professional, practice manager or responsible for your organisation's communication, NHS Choices should be an essential part of your resource tool kit.
NHS Choices have a dedicated page for Coping with bereavement.