Palliative, or end of life care, is a special part of our role, and our dedicated care and nursing teams create a safe, relaxed environment where the needs of the terminally ill and their families come first.
As we approach the end of life, many of us are likely to need additional nursing care, and it is comforting for us, and our relatives, to know that we will be safe, and cared for with compassion and dignity.
As part of each resident’s personal care plan, we discuss with their families (and, where possible, with the resident themselves) what their wishes are in the approach to, and immediately after, they pass away. This might include religious or cultural preferences, or anything significant to them. In addition to individual wishes, when any resident is coming to the end of their life, we aim to ensure that their room and the area around are kept as peaceful and restful as possible. Using a butterfly motif on their care plan and door tells people, discreetly, that someone is dying, so that staff, visitors and other residents can respect their need for special kindness and understanding.
Our staff receive high quality, specialist training in palliative care, and close relationships with local GP surgeries and hospitals ensure that additional medical support is not far away. And, of course, the close relationships we build with our residents’ families mean that we are able to support them, as well. Especially if they cannot be present, they take comfort in the reassurance that we were, and that their loved one’s last moments were filled with compassion and kindness. Losing a loved one is always hard. If they have been ill for a long time it is quite usual to have mixed feelings about their death. We often talk to families about their feelings of loss, combined with guilt that they feel relieved that their relative is now at peace. We understand, and our caring staff are here for the families as well as for our residents.
In fact, we often feel the same way. We become very close to our residents, and treat them as our own family members. Even if someone hasn’t lived with us for very long, their nursing, care and activities teams spend a lot of time with them, and caring for them creates a very personal bond. When a resident passes, as well as dealing with it in our professional capacities, we grieve for them, too. We miss them, but we appreciate the privilege of being the people to care for them in their last days.
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