As you near the end of your life focus will shift to your quality of life.
Quality of life is about giving you support to maintain and enjoy everyday living. It’s about you being at the centre of your care and focuses on your level of comfort, enjoyment and ability to continue daily activities and what affects you.
It may sometimes mean having to change expectations and make choices based on what is available and acceptable to you.
Symptoms can usually be managed if you tell your doctor or nurse about them as soon as you can.
Please tell your doctor if you have concerns about any symptoms.The doctor and nurse may ask questions such as:
If you have specific wishes or preferences, now is the time to discuss these with your carers and family and put them down in writing so people have a clear understanding of the type of care and treatments you would prefer.
You may want to ask yourself:
Health professionals will want to talk to you about your care, tell you what will happen as your illness progresses, provide you with choices and answer your questions. They will be sensitive but will never force you to talk about the things you don’t want to.
If you don’t know what care you want, or prefer others to make your decisions then you should tell them. Health professionals will always aim to provide what they feel is best for you.
One way of making people aware of your wishes is by a process called advance care planning.
You may want to consider where you would like to be cared for at the end of your life. Some people want to stay at home while others would prefer to go to their local hospice or hospital. Whatever your preference, make sure you share your wishes with your doctor, nurse, carers and family members.
If you are being cared for in a hospice, hospital or nursing home, your nurse or doctor may talk with you about the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).
The LCP has been developed by experts in end-of-life care to make sure people have appropriate care and support when they are dying to enable them to die in a dignified way. It also supports relatives and carers.
The dying process is unique to each person, but in most cases a plan of care can be put in place to support the patient, doctors and nurses, relatives and friends to achieve the best quality of care at the end of life.
A leaflet which explains the LCP in more detail may be available from the nurse or doctor caring for you.
If you would prefer to be cared for at home or in a hospice we may be able to help. We have Marie Curie Nurses across the UK who can give free hands-on care, during the day or overnight, in your own home.
We also run nine hospices across the UK, which offer a range of specialist services and support for patients and families.
The Marie Curie Helper service is provided by specially trained volunteers who can offer one-to-one support according to your needs. For up to three hours each week, you can rely on the support of a dedicated Helper volunteer who will visit you in your home to provide companionship and emotional support.
Furthermore, we have made a series of video guides which are full of important advice to help you care for someone.
Some people who are going through difficult situations in life find it helpful to meet others in a similar situation. A number of support groups are available to support people with a life-limiting illness or health condition and those caring for them at home. Membership of these groups varies but usually includes people who have personal experience of a similar situation. A home visit may be possible if you cannot leave the house.
If you are in contact with a Marie Curie Hospice or another local hospice, ask if they have a social worker who can advise you on local sources of support for people who are caring for someone.
Find out what our hospices offer for patients and their carers.
How body and mind is affected as death approaches.
Find out how to help loved ones cope after death.
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