Palliative Care at Home: You Have a Choice

Palliative care is a unique health service that eases pain and suffering and provides personal, emotional, spiritual and psychological support to you (and your family) as you near the end of your life.

Palliative care is provided in hospitals, hospices and aged care facilities but it can also be provided in the familiarity and comfort of your own home.

You have a choice. Talk to your palliative care team about your preferences and the support that could be provided to enable you to die at home if you wish.

Palliative Care at Home: You Have a Choice

When a baby is on the way, the new parents are often asked to prepare a birth plan. It lets the midwives and doctors know what’s important to them about the upcoming birth.

Obviously, the safe delivery of a healthy baby is everyone’s top priority but it’s helpful for the birth team to know whether the parents are aiming for a drug-free natural birth or planning to use the strongest pain relief available, for example. That information helps the doctors and midwives to respect the patient’s wishes and do whatever they can to make the birth a positive experience as well as a safe one.

Just as there are choices about birth, so there are choices about death. Palliative care is a very special kind of health service that supports you as you near death. And you can choose to have palliative care at home if you wish.


What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care aims to help you live as fully and comfortably as possible when you’re living with a terminal illness.

If you’re living with an illness that can’t be cured, palliative care helps you manage pain and provides personal, emotional, psychological and spiritual support.

Palliative care can vary from one person to another depending on each person’s symptoms, support structures and beliefs. It may include:

  • Linking you to support services like in-home care, financial support or grief counsellors
  • Helping families talk and process their feelings
  • Relieving pain and symptoms
  • Referrals to respite care to keep your family’s strength up.

Your palliative care team may include your GP, medical specialist(s), nurses, allied health professionals, palliative care specialists and home carers.

Good palliative care is a family centred model of care. That means the palliative care team is supporting and including your family as well as caring for you.


What is In-Home Palliative Care?

A ‘good death’ means different things to different people. That said, many people say they want to die at home. It’s your place, after all, familiar and comfortable.

Palliative care is often provided in hospitals, hospices, and residential aged care facilities. It can also be provided at home.

If you would like palliative care at home, then talk to your GP or palliative care team about it. Whether it’s possible for you to have palliative care at home depends on a few things such as:

  • Your illness
  • Your care needs
  • How much support you have around you.


Getting Palliative Care at Home

There are various services that support your wish for palliative care at home.

My Aged Care funding provides many services that help you stay in your own home as you approach the end of your life.

Your aged care funding can be used for:

  • Nursing care (dressing wounds, managing medication)
  • Home help (cleaning, doing the laundry)
  • Personal care (bathing, showering, dressing, toileting)
  • Meals (preparing meals or helping you eat)
  • Transport
  • Counselling

Here, at Focused Health Care, we provide many of these in-home care services on a regular basis to clients.


What If My Needs Change?

Life doesn’t always go to plan – and neither does death.

Palliative care at home is a solution for some people, enabling them to die at home. For others, in-home palliative care keeps them at home for longer during a time when each day is precious. But there can come a time when palliative care at home is no longer an option.

If your medical needs become too great to manage at home, you may need to move into a hospital or a hospice for your end-of-life care.


How Can Focused Health Care Help?

Focused Health Care provides in-home palliative care led by Registered Nurses.

Our experienced palliative care nurses support you and your family by:

  • Providing 24/7 nursing care in your home
  • Managing your medications
  • Using syringe pumps
  • Managing your end-of-life care
  • Working closely with your GP and the other members of your palliative care team.

Most of all, we try to make this time special to you. We ask what a good death means to you then try to make it happen for you. That means respecting your wishes, trying to relieve your pain and suffering, support you and your family as you grieve, and do everything possible to enable you to die at home if you wish.

If you’d like to talk to us about palliative care in your own home, please call us on 1300 201 351.

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