Palliative Care involves everyone in the family and can leave a family with numerous questions that often do not have straight or simple answers. Depending on the illness, a person’s age and their life expectancy, the options and decisions to be made by a person and their family can vary hugely. This section of the website seeks to offer people and their families advice about care decisions. It provides basic definitions on the different forms of care a person may receive and provides links to organisations that will be able help a family with caring for a loved one.

For many people the words palliative care are associated with dying, cancer and hopelessness. However palliative care is so much more than this and has a lot more to offer. Palliative care aims to meet the physical, practical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of individuals who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting condition that may limit or shorten their lives, Palliative care can provide you and your family with the care you need to help achieve and maintain the best quality of life possible.

Health and social care professionals providing you and your family with palliative care are there to help alleviate the symptoms you may experience as a result of your illness. However, they are not only there to focus on providing medication, they can also provide support and advice to help with your fears and concerns and answer your questions. The goal of palliative care is the achievement of the best quality of life for you and those who matter to you.

It is important that you express your wishes regarding where you would like this care to take place and have discussions about your preferred place of care with your family, and the health and social care professionals involved in your care. This will promote shared decision making and ensure those important to you are aware of your wishes. Palliative care is not only provided in hospitals and hospices, it can also be delivered in the community. Whether you live at home with your family or in a nursing home you can receive palliative care.

It is important to remember that palliative care is not just there for the person with the life limiting condition, it is also there for your family and carers. Seeing a family member or friend going through the stages of an untreatable illness can be tough, especially if you are a carer. Professionals are there to provide carers with support and advice to help guide them through their journey as a carer through to the bereavement.

Written by Sue Foster, 2014