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end of life care



As you come to the end of your life, there are some practical decisions to be made. You might want to be involved in these decisions but it’s up to you.

 

There might also be goals you really want to achieve, spiritual discussions you want to have, or you could be thinking about ways to capture and celebrate your life, including planning your funeral.

We’ve provided some ideas below to help think through these issues. You can also talk to the Redkite support team with any questions or thoughts.

palliative care

Palliative care is meant to make sure you can live as actively and comfortably as possible. It aims to relieve any symptoms or pain you are feeling and improve your quality of life, rather than cure cancer.

 

Some people avoid palliative care because they are worried it means "giving up". What they may not realise that palliative care can be for short or a long time and can be given even alongside other treatments.

 

You may have questions about dying, and your palliative care team will be able to help you with these. They will also do things like:

  • Help with symptoms like pain or nausea
  • Coordinate the different professionals involved in your care and keep them updated
  • Provide care in your home, hospital or hospice
  • Access any special equipment needed
  • Link your family with support services
  • Organise respite care for your family so they can take breaks if they need

home, hospital or hospice?

One of the big decisions you will make is where to die. Sometimes due to your medical situation or the support available, there may not be a choice. But generally there are three main options – hospital, home or a hospice.

 

You may be able to move between these three places, and you can also change your mind.

A hospice is a place designed to care for people who are dying. It provides medical and other support services in an environment that is meant to feel more like a home than a hospital.

which is best for me?

People have different reasons for the place they choose. Some feel more comfortable at home, some say they feel safer at a hospital, and others think it’s easier on their family to be at a hospice. Talk to your family about your options.

 

Your palliative care team will work hard to accommodate your decision. You may want to ask them questions like:

  • Where will I feel more comfortable?
  • What support is available if I want to die at home?
  • What services can my family access?
  • Is there a hospice suitable for my age group?

advance care planning

It’s possible for your health to get worse very quickly. In this case, it can be useful to have what is called an advance care plan. This means you have already made decisions about what kind of treatment you want the doctors to make in this situation. This can help you and your family avoid making decisions under pressure.

 

Again, your palliative care team will be able to help you with this. The Redkite support team is also here for you.

planning your funeral

This is a confronting idea, but many young people have said they found helping to plan their own funeral a positive experience. It can be a way to celebrate your life and share your story.

 

Some things you may want to think about are:

  • Involving your brothers and sisters or friends in the planning
  • Who you might want to speak or do a reading
  • What favourite songs or music to play
  • Writing something to be read out
  • Choosing photos or images to show
  • Any special things you want put in your casket
  • Where you want to be buried or have your ashes placed

Your palliative care team, treating team, hospital social worker and the Redkite support team can help you think through these things too.

Last updated September 2015.