We recognise that palliative care is a specialist approach to care provided by our staff and the multidisciplinary team to residents living with and dying from any advanced, progressive incurable condition. It is our belief that this requires a person-centred approach that recognises that each resident is an individual with personal needs, wishes and desires.
We recognise that good palliative care is not just about supporting someone in the last months, days and hours of life, but about enhancing the quality of life for both residents and families at every stage of the disease process from diagnosis onwards. Our approach to palliative care focuses on the person, not the disease, and applies a holistic approach to meeting the physical, practical, functional, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of residents and carers facing progressive illness and bereavement.
We believe that it is important that we help residents and their families understand the nature of the illness and the expected prognosis. By adopting this approach, we believe that residents and families are helped to set realistic goals and priorities during the last phase of the resident’s life. Staff then design the care for the resident to support these personal goals and priorities.
We believe that it is important that family members and carers receive an explanation about any symptoms that may present and how these will be relieved. Where family members wish to play an active role in the care of their loved one staff will enable them to do so. For example, families and informal carers can play an active role in oral care, hydration, assisting with meals and relieving anxiety. By empowering family members to take an active role in the care of their loved one it is possible to improve the quality of care, reduce symptoms and provide comfort to both the residents and their loved ones.
We recognise that family presence at the death of a loved one is important to many people. We also recognise that family members may not be adequately prepared to manage the stress and distress associated with witnessing the decline and death of their loved one. We believe that the support and preparation of family members is an important element of the care that we deliver. We recognise that open communication between the patient, family and health professionals in the days and weeks prior to someone dying, sharing feelings and fears, and building on trust and mutual confidence are of paramount importance in the provision of palliative care.