In cases of terminal illness, there comes a point when it makes sense to shift from a curative approach, where the goal is to treat the disease, to a palliative approach, where the goal is to make the patient as comfortable and pain-free as possible. This stage of treatment, often known as end-of-life care, can last for years, months, weeks, or mere days.
How Do You Know When It’s Time for End-of-Life Care?
There aren’t any strict official guidelines for making the decision to move to end-of-life care. This choice depends on a number of factors: the patient’s condition, the patient’s desires, the chance of success for a curative approach, and the recommendations of medical professionals.
Some signs that your loved one may need to move to end-of-life care may include:
- They don’t want to be in the hospital for extended periods of time anymore.
- Their condition is getting significantly worse to the point that it substantially impacts their quality of life.
- They no longer wish to undergo treatments for their disease.
- They have made several trips to the ER in order to stabilize their condition.
- Their appetite is decreasing.
What Does End-of-Life Care Include?
Approaching the end of life is a very difficult and potentially overwhelming transition. It often comes with its own set of complex needs. Here is what end-of-life care can include:
- Physical care – The patient will often require assistance with daily tasks such as eating, bathing, drinking, and getting dressed. They may also need pain management and regular visits from a hospice nurse.
- Emotional care – Whatever stage the patient’s cognitive function or memory is in, they still have the ability to feel a large range of emotions, perhaps more than other people do. This includes fear and anxiety.
- Spiritual care – Preparing for the end of life can bring up existential questions and a lot of anxiety for not just the patient, but also their family. Spiritual care can be an immense source of support.
Contact Lucky Palliative Services if you have any questions about end-of-life care. We serve patients across Southern California, including Ventura County, Antelope Valley, San Bernardino County, Thousand Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, Los Angeles, Canoga Park, and surrounding areas.