Palliative care

Palliative Care: How to Support Your Loved One

When a loved one enters palliative care, it can be a challenging time for both  the patient and their family. In this article, we will discuss the nature of palliative care, ways to prioritize self-care, and methods to support a lovedone during their time in palliative care.

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Palliative Care?

Palliative care and end-of-life care are often mistakenly used as synonyms. While it is true that individuals receiving palliative care may also receive end-of-life care, these two types of care are not interchangeable. Palliative care can be provided at any stage of a patient’s illness, and it can be administered concurrently with medical interventions and other treatments. Some individuals may receive palliative care for an extended period, even for several months or years. Although palliative care is frequently provided to individuals approaching the end of their lives, it is not limited to end-of-life care.

What does Palliative Care involve?

Palliative care is a comprehensive form of care provided to individuals diagnosed with incurable illnesses. The goal of palliative care is to enhance the patient’s quality of life by utilizing a holistic approach that promotes comfort and well-being. Pain management is a key component of palliative care, but it also involves addressing the patient’s spiritual, psychological, and social needs. Palliative care focuses on optimizing the patient’s overall wellbeing, rather than just treating their symptoms.

Palliative care aims to:

  •  Provide pain relief and promote comfort 
  • Create a support system 
  • Help people to live the life they want 
  • Offer a support system for families 
  • Combine psychological and spiritual care with medical care

Making decisions

At Yahweh YYNH, we adopt a person-centred approach to providing care, including our palliative care services. We prioritize understanding the unique needs and preferences of our residents to offer compassionate and tailored care. Our care philosophy also emphasizes the importance of involving family members in the care process, and we welcome their active participation. This may involve collaborating with our team of nurses to make important decisions that align with the individual needs and wishes of the resident receiving care.

We’ll invite your input, along with the resident’s GP and of course, the resident, on issues such as:

  • When treatment for any illnesses should be stopped 
  • What support you need as a family or friend 
  • Who the resident might want around them whilst receiving care 
  • How to ensure they can spend quality time with family and friends 
  • If there are any activities or objects that will improve their quality of life 
  • If they will want any emotional or spiritual support

Show your loved one how much you care

When an individual initiates palliative care, they may experience a range of emotions, including grief, anxiety, and possibly anger. To provide effective support, it is crucial to communicate your availability to your loved one, no matter the circumstance. Allow them to express their emotions freely, whether it be fear, anger, sadness, or loneliness. It is essential to validate their feelings rather than dismissing them, demonstrating your presence and fostering a sense of comfort. Remember, despite their illness, they remain the same person you have always known and loved.

Support them with planning

Although palliative care does not solely refer to end-of-life care, it is wise to consider planning for this possibility if your loved one has not already done so. By ensuring that all their affairs are in order, you can alleviate their potential stress and enable both of you to spend time together without worry about important matters. Taking care of these practical details is a supportive gesture that demonstrates your care and concern for your loved one. Owing you may want to discuss with your loved one include:

  •  Making a will 
  • Setting up a Power of Attorney 
  •  Ensuring all their important documents and paperwork are in one safe location
  •   Their wishes for their funeral 

How to look after yourself

When a loved one is receiving palliative care, it can be a stressful and worrisome time for you. However, you should feel comfortable asking the care home any questions you have to better understand the care your loved one is receiving. Any reputable care home will be happy to walk you through the process, your loved one’s daily routine, and the training and qualifications of the nurses and other staff caring for them.

It’s important to take time for yourself to relax and enjoy your hobbies, even if your loved one is in a nursing home and not being cared for at home. Eating well, exercising, and staying engaged in your interests are crucial self-care steps.

Having a trusted group of friends to confide in can be helpful. Additionally, if you find that the situation is overwhelming, don’t hesitate to speak with your GP, who can guide you toward the appropriate support.

It’s important to remember that palliative care is a comprehensive healthcare approach that aims to support not only the resident but also their family and friends. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the care team if you require assistance or support.

Palliative Care at Yahweh Yasad Nursing Homes

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YYNH teams are highly experienced and dedicated to providing the very best care for both you and your loved ones at this difficult time.

Find out more

If you’d like to discuss care for a person living with dementia in more detail, or
find out about what we offer here at YYNH, just get in touch. We’re
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