When your family member is diagnosed with a terminal illness, nothing is easy or straightforward. And as you absorb not just the emotional but the practical considerations that come with this news, one of the most challenging choices is which care option is right for your family. Here, we evaluate some of the care options open to your family member so that they can be cared for with dignity.
Assess their needs and get advice
Before you make any firm choices on the best care option for your family member, you will need to fully assess their needs now, and how these might change over time. This can be a very upsetting conversation, but seeking advice from medical and care professionals can ensure you make the right decision for them and yourself.
Care at home
If your family member lives with you, then you may wish to spend more time with them over the coming days, weeks and months. It is possible for those suffering from a terminal illness to get the care they need at home, though this can depend on how complex their needs are. Some homes are able to be adapted for this, and live in support such as 24h care workers in Kent can take the practical burden off your shoulders.
If your family member has medical needs that are very complex, or their illness is progressing and changing very rapidly, it is sometimes advised that they are cared for in a palliative hospital environment. This makes spending time with them more challenging but does ensure that they receive consistent and high-level medical care.
Residential or care homes are a good option for those whose illnesses are not progressing so quickly, but who will require additional support rather than living independently. Professional carers are available at all times, but it is worth noting they do not hold a full nursing qualification. If this is necessary for your family member, then a nursing home provides the same living support with the additional peace of mind of having nurses on duty to help with a range of medical requirements.
Towards the end of your family member’s life, hospice care is a well-known choice for providing a comfortable, safe and medically supportive environment. Hospice care can be utilised for short periods of time or for longer stays and will provide therapies and medical care for your family member, as well as emotional support.
Choosing the right care option is always going to be extremely difficult, and your choice will come down to a number of factors – and seeking advice and support in deciding can give you peace of mind going forward.