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Specialist End Of Life & Palliative Care

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Healthcare Assistant areas of specialism: EOL & palliative care

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room. If you choose to move your healthcare career forward into end of life or palliative care, it will be brutal on your emotions. This line of healthcare work most definitely isn’t for everyone. You’ll grow just as close to residents as you would in a more traditional care setting, however the likelihood of them passing away during your shifts increases massively. That said, if you have a skin thick enough to be able to cope with that, without sacrificing any of the empathetic, kind and caring side of your personality, this could be the most rewarding way of all to move your care career forward and help support your local community. People coming towards the end of life or suffering from terminal illnesses are at their most vulnerable and need specialist care and support to ensure they remain as comfortable as possible. If you choose to become a specialist in end of life (EOL) and palliative care within a private care home or short stay care home, there are a few things that will help you transition into your new specialism.

What is EOL care?

End of life care can last a matter of days, months, or even years, depending on the specifics of the resident’s condition.

This type of care involves support, treatment and care for people who are nearing the end of their life and it’s part of the wider palliative care service.

Some of the health conditions that require end of life care are:

  • Incurable illnesses such as motor neurone disease, cancer or dementia
  • Life-threatening severe conditions caused by a stroke or different types of accident
  • Risky health conditions that can be worsened by a sudden crisis
  • Confusion over what most people would consider simple things like “what time is it?”, “where am I?” etc.
  • Severe health conditions with a reduced life expectancy

What is palliative care?

Palliative care begins from the point of diagnosis of a terminal illness and involves offering the bespoke support, treatment and care that the patient needs. By identifying and meeting their needs at a social, psychological and psychical level, you’ll be a key support during the most challenging period of their life.

In this type of care family members or friends may also be involved, depending on the specifics of the condition and the range of the needs the patient has. Being considerate to the feelings of others is a really important part of palliative care.

The purpose of a Palliative Specialist is to support patients to live as well as possible and feel comfortable during their illness, maintaining their dignity and providing as much independence as their condition will allow.

The difference between EOL & palliative care

Palliative care incorporates EOL care, but it goes further, including controlling symptoms and meeting the spiritual and social needs of the patient. This type of care involves all aspects of life, which can include helping people come to terms with their diagnosis.

End of life care is a key part of palliative care that is directed toward the care of the patients who are nearing end of their battle. End of life care is generally for people in the last year of life, although it is difficult to predict a defined period of time. It’s critical to help people maintain a good quality of life, during the time they have left.

Dying with dignity is one of the main components of EOL care. Meeting a patient’s emotional needs is one of the major factors in palliative care.

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