Planning for End of Life Care in the UK: What You Need to Know

Planning for end-of-life care can be difficult. It’s not an easy subject to broach as no one likes to think of a time when they or someone they love won’t be around.


Sadly, many people face the realities of needing end-of-life care in the UK due to life-limiting conditions or terminal illnesses. Around half of people who die each year receive some form of palliative or end-of-life care.


End-of-life care is when a person is supported through the last months of their life either at home or in a facility that provides this type of care environment, providing medical care and support for the patient and their families.


But what do you need to know when planning for end-of-life care in the UK? This post looks at answering some of the questions you might have.


Who Provides End-of-Life Care?

There is a range of providers who provide end of life care services in the UK. Hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes all offer this type of service.


Hospices provide 24-hour care with nurses and doctors on hand. They also offer advice and support for the patient’s family. Hospices are often located in residential areas – near to patients’ family and friends – but some larger hospices may be found in pretty rural locations.


Nursing homes and hospitals offer end-of-life care and medical care, but they may not provide round-the-clock staff or the same level of emotional support as a hospice would.


How Do You Get End-of-Life Care?

The first thing you need to know is how you get end-of-life care? The NHS recommends talking with your family and loved ones about your wishes. If you plan ahead, this can be made easier for them when the time comes. You might want to start thinking about what type of care you would like at the end of your life, where it should take place, and also who would be in charge of caring for you.


Home-based care is usually cheaper than other options but still provides medical care and support for the patient and their families. Although alternatives are available, such as hospices or daycare centers, you can find more detail on their website. But most people choose to spend their final days at home.


In the first instance, those who require this type of care can consult with their GP or physician to get the appropriate care when the time comes. Alternatively, if you are planning for this many charities can help you to put plans in place and secure the right type of care for you.


Difference Between End of Life Care and Palliative Care

Palliative care is when a person with a life-limiting condition or terminal illness gets the treatment, relief, and support they need to make their life more comfortable. End-of-life care is when a person with a life-limiting condition or terminal illness gets the treatment, relief, and support they need to make their life more comfortable and then some.


Some people use these terms interchangeably, but if you know the difference, then you’ll be able to ask for appropriate help when you need it most.


End of life care goes beyond palliative care in that it may also include:


  • Regular adjustments to medications and treatments to prolong survival
  • Providing additional pain relief if needed
  • Helping loved ones deal with loss and grief
  • Helping loved ones plan ahead for funeral wishes
  • Helping loved ones plan ahead so they can take care of loved ones once gone


Do You Need to Move for End of Life Care?

One of the most common questions about end-of-life care is whether or not you need to move to a different location.


The answer is that it depends on your preferences and your current living situation. If you would like to stay in your home and receive end-of-life care, this is possible with home palliative care.


It’s important to consider what kind of end-of-life care you want and how involved—or not involved—you would like family members and friends to be in helping with that care.


If you decide that moving would be best for you, there are plenty of facilities both in the UK and abroad that offer excellent end-of-life care services.


Do You Need A Will?

If you want to plan for end-of-life care, you need to make sure you make a will.


Several things need to be taken into account when planning for end-of-life care in the UK regarding any children or grandchildren. A will is like a roadmap for your family, outlining what they should do when the time comes. It’s also important to consider if you have any children or grandchildren who are under 18 years old.


For example, do you want your child’s grandparents looking after them? If so, it may be worth mentioning this in your will, so there is no confusion later on.


Additionally, suppose you have a partner or spouse. In that case, it might be wise to list them as executors of your estate so someone can help settle all of your affairs before they are distributed amongst others, including your children and grandchildren.


Lastly, but most importantly, if there are any assets left over after settling all debts and expenses involved with end-of-life care, these should be passed on according to the terms set out in the will.


What Plans Do You Need to Make?

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re planning for end-of-life care. The first thing to think about is what plans will best suit your needs and your family’s. Do you want to stay at home, or do you want to go into a facility? What type of medical support will you need?


There are a few other things to take into account, too: For those who have been living with one illness for a while, it’s essential to discuss the end of life care plan with their physician as their condition may worsen over time. In addition, people must include end-of-life care as part of their financial planning as this can be costly and should not be forgotten. 


Planning for end-of-life care can involve a lot, but by following these tips and taking the time now to prepare, your loved ones will know what to do when faced with this challenging decision later on.


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