I Am Living

End-of-life care is an important part of palliative care. This type of care is available to anyone living through the final phase of life, when they are irreversibly dying. The goal of end-of-life care is to ensure that people are supported in their decision to live through their end-of-life journey (for example hours, days, weeks), in a way that they deem most valuable, while also providing support to their those they love.

The end-of-life is a very significant part in the life of the dying person, those they love and their caregivers. While it can be a rich, intimate and profound experience, it can also bring about person distress and conflict for a variety of reasons such as lack of end-of-life care planning.

Timely decision-making is crucial to end-of-life. While some people retain full capacity until shortly before their death, others may become unresponsive and therefore unable to make end-of-life care decisions (for example treatment). Additionally, some people living with a life-limiting illness, faced with the potentially different expectations and opinions of those they love, find it challenging to voice their preferences and wishes. Hence, it is most important to plan well for this stage in order to ensure that the wishes of the dying person are known and respected while person distress and conflict are minimised.

It is never too early to plan for end-of-life and, ideally, we should all plan when we are healthy (for example power of attorney, enduring guardianship).