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End of Life Care

Death, dying and bereavement are subjects that are often difficult for people to talk about.  Just as health services support people with the prevention of ill health, diagnosis and treatment, we can also support individuals and families in the last phase of life. Health care staff can help families to have conversations when there are no more treatment options.

We can provide ongoing care that will be palliative - that is care that is aimed at keeping people comfortable - to get the most out of the time they have left.

As well as symptom management and psychological care, we can be part of conversations such as: where do they want to be when they die, have they got a will, what is their position on organ donation, funeral arrangements, religious and cultural needs, etc.

It's important to ask if your family know your thoughts on these areas. Having conversations in advance is not morbid or insensitive, it is a chance to set your affairs in order and can guide a family at a difficult time and bring comfort.

Aspects that we can support you with include:

Physically (place of death, advance care planning)
Emotionally (talking about death, making sure loved ones are cared for)
Financially (making a will, making funeral plans)
Spiritually (How different faith groups talk about and prepare for death)
Digitally (Looking at digital assets, social media, online banking)

In this blog, Bedfordshire Manager, Karen Simpson shares her story about the difficult days surrounding the loss of her daughter Rachael, how hard it was to keep going during lockdown and useful ways that staff can support a workmate following a bereavement.

Dennis had a diagnosis of a learning disability and was 91 years when he died in August 2021. His carers have kindly shared their experiences of his death and how everyone came together to carry out his wishes to keep him in surroundings familiar to him and with people he knew. This account highlights the importance of talking about end of life care to everyone. Read on ...

 

In this blog, Community Palliative Care Nurse Judith Dimmock shares a personal account of working through the pandemic while dealing with personal grief. She compares the experience and comfort her family derived from carrying out her mum's end of life wishes, with the sudden unexpected death of her brother-in-law which left the family flailing. It brought home to her how talking about your end of life wishes helps a family cope and brings them comfort. Read on ...

There are a number of organisations that can help at these times:

Marie Curie
NHS Confidential Bereavement Support (operated by Hospice UK). Call 0300 303 4434
Sudden
National Bereavement Partnership Org
Samaritans Call 116 123 free
Good Grief Trust
Cruse
At a Loss