End of life care planning

End of life care

End of life care planning is made up of a number of different support and help options. This covers everything from emotional, cultural and spiritual services. It also covers both the person whose life is ending and their friends and family. This post will take you quickly through the most important things to know and provide useful links. Above all though, see professional advice when it comes to such important matters.

Home care

The ideal scenario for most people is that they spend their last days in their family home. In fact, there are a number of care services that are provided by private companies and the government to help with exactly this. Better still, services cover everything from help bathing, doing gardening, medical treatments physiotherapy etc. Plus, once the person is assessed by the Government as eligible, they often get to choose which services they want to use. For example, one person may prefer help with shopping whilst another wants someone to help with the gardening.

There are a number of private and public support programs

Aged care homes

If the persons care needs are more advanced they may require care in a specialist home. Traditionally called nursing homes, aged care homes are dotted all over the country. Better still, most now offer ageing in place. This means that as someone’s care needs advance, they don’t need to change facilities.

You can search our age care directory for your local facility.

Support for family members and carers

There is also a lot of support available for people who care for those nearing end of life. Importantly, this also applies to family members who may not think of themselves as professional carers but of course, that’s what they are. The best place to start is to contact Centre link or visit this end of life carer page on My Aged Care.

Palliative care

Palliative care refers to caring for people whose life will soon end. That is, there in the final days before they die. This applies to both the person and their family members (who may need emotional support for example). Common examples of people requiring palliative care include people suffering from cancer or end-stage dementia. Doctors, age care providers and community nurses are an excellent source of information where palliative care is required.

Care plan

A care plan is vital because it helps everybody, especially family members and carers, understand that the care needs of the patient. It will deal with matters such as who to notify, cultural and spiritual preferences, what sort of support might be provided to the family etc.

The care plan is easily put in place with the help of home-care or age care providers. Contact us for help finding a provider of Care Plans.

Advance care planning

Advance care planning relates more specifically to the wishes of somebody who is nearing the end of their life and how they wish to be treated under certain medical conditions. For example, the person may or may not wish to be revived in certain circumstances.

Department of Human Services can help with planning finances

Another example that’s not uncommon is where the person, suddenly, is unable to make legal decisions. In this case, power-of-attorney or enduring guardianship might be given to a trusted friend or family member automatically. Because this has all been planned in advance, the guardian knows exactly what the patient’s wishes are and how to act upon them.

Medicines

End of life medicines can be quite complicated as well as potentially dangerous. It’s important to seek professional advice from doctors and palliative care providers.

The good news is that many of the medicines used in palliative care are subsidised by the government through the pharmaceutical benefits scheme. For more information about medicines visit NPS MedicineWise or call them on one 1300 633 424. NPS MedicineWise will be able to give specific information about medicines.

Costs involved in end-of-life care

As you can imagine, end of life care can become quite expensive. This is especially so if the person is suffering from a prolonged medical condition. Costs might include hospital fees, medicines out-of-pocket, equipment to use at home, subsidising care services, other medical supplies etc. It’s really important in cases like this to seek advice from a professional such as your doctor or age care provider.

Furthermore, the Department of Human Services can help with planning finances. In fact, they can provide access to social workers and general information for free. Best of all, they should also be able to help with information about payments and other services that can support the carers looking after the elderly family member. You don’t need to go this alone.

Useful links

There are a number of private and public support programs in the country that you can access. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a person suffering an illness, someone planning for the end of a life, a family member or friend. This list is sourced from My Aged Care.

Organisation or resource What they do Contact
Advance Care Planning Australia (Respecting Patient Choices) This website provides information on advance care directives. It also helps individuals choose their end of life care and to inform their families, carers and health professionals of the choices that they have made. 03 9496 5660

 

Start2talk (Dementia Australia) This website will help you to plan ahead for your future. Planning ahead is thinking about if you have a sudden accident, become very ill or develop a condition such as dementia that affects your memory and your planning ability.  

1800 100 500

Carers Australia The peak national body representing Australia’s carers. They provide information, support, education, training and counselling. 1800 242 636
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres These centres, located across Australia, provide a link to a wide range of community, aged care and support services that are available locally and nationally. 1800 052 222
Volunteers Australia Volunteers Australia may be able to connect you with local volunteers who can help and provide friendly support.
Department of Human Services Provides financial information that can advise on wills, enduring powers of attorney, funeral plans, bonds and how to administer a deceased estate.
Payments may also be available when caring for someone who has a life-limiting illness, including Carer Payment, Carer Allowance and a Bereavement Payment.
13 23 00

13 27 17

Department of Veterans’ Affairs  Veterans may be able to receive support services particularly targeted to their end of life needs through various Department programs. 13 32 54

 

Call (03) 9043-1717 for advice

Aged Care Weekly can connect you with reputable providers in Melbourne. Call (03) 9043- 1717, email reception@agedcareweekly.com.au

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