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Why Is End Of Life Care Important?

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End of life care is incredibly important for patients with serious and life-changing health problems. It is vulnerable and emotional time of a person’s life for them and their family, and the level of care given to them is crucial to ensure they have a peaceful and dignified end. 

End of life care can occur in hospitals, at the patient’s homes and in special hospices. In addition, certain illnesses require more specific palliative care, and there are specialist hospices to accommodate this.

Does end of life care improve quality of life?

End of life care has an important role in improving the quality of life of a patient. End of life care or palliative care is the specialist care for people who are reaching the end of their life. Palliative care treats the symptoms, side effects and emotional problems for people with serious and life-threatening health problems. 

End of life care improves the quality of life for a patient by helping them manage their symptoms such as pain, sickness or emotional distress. Patients are cared for through each stage of their illness by specialist nurses and doctors. In addition, some medications and therapies help the patient feel comfortable towards the end of their life. 

End of life care can occur at home, in a hospital or in a hospice, depending on the patient’s needs.

Why does end of life care focus on upholding dignity?

End of life care focuses on upholding a patient’s dignity in the face of the side effects and symptoms of life-threatening health problems. Many patients feel a loss of control towards the end of their life, and palliative care helps them manage some symptoms to be more comfortable.

Dignity is especially important in end of life care because of the vulnerability and dependence of the people being cared for. For patients receiving end of life care, there are certain rights that they should feel; these include their worth, freedom and responsibility. These things can be hard to feel while dealing with a life-threatening illness, so end of life care focuses on making a person comfortable to uphold these values. 

How does end of life care help individuals feel more at peace?

Individuals can feel more at peace during end of life care by managing their symptoms. For example, long-term pain has a lot of side effects, including anxiety and depression. Having these symptoms managed by pain medication and other therapies can help a patient feel more at peace. Some people also choose to have religious intervention in their end of life care, such as having a priest visit to talk with them about their final days. 

Many different emotions come from needing palliative care. These include fear, anger, grief and sometimes regret. End of life care nurses also help the patient work through these feelings with therapy and support. Talking about mental health can also help with acceptance and finding peace. 

Can specialised medical treatment be delivered through end of life care?

Many symptoms come with a life-threatening illness, such as pain, loss of appetite or stomach problems like constipation. These will all require different medical interventions, such as pain medication. However, people receiving end of life care might not be able to take medication by mouth, so there are other ways, such as injections and IVs. 

Pain medications can vary in strength. However, doctors and nurses will always give the lowest dose to manage your pain, from paracetamol for mild pain to opioids such as codeine and morphine for patients experiencing serious pain. 

The medication can cause symptoms which palliative care will also treat. In addition, some patients might need other treatments, such as physiotherapy. Complementary therapy, such as reflexology or aromatherapy, can also help calm and relax patients. 

Certain health conditions require more specific care, and there are palliative care plans and specialist hospices to accommodate this. 

End of life care is an important part of a patient’s treatment, with the top priority being making them comfortable and at peace. Giving the patient a proper treatment plan, pain medication, complementary therapies and mental health support can help make the end of their life more comfortable. 

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