Any palliative care within the last 12 months of life is regarded as end of life care; but it is recognised that some people will benefit from palliative care before this time. This includes people whose death is imminent (expected within a few hours or days) and those with:
- advanced, progressive, incurable conditions
- general frailty and coexisting conditions that mean they are expected to die within 12 months
- existing conditions if they are at risk of dying from a sudden acute crisis in their condition
- life-threatening acute conditions caused by sudden catastrophic events.
As palliative care specialists, Sunshine has always provided specific training and qualifications relating to end of life care and in our contracts with NHS Continuing Care provided our health and social care workers with the opportunity to acquire substantial practical experience.
Palliative medicine is now a recognised medical specialty, requiring the equivalent of 4 years' specialist training; and these specialists, who frequently dedicate all or most of their time to the care of people approaching the end of life, include:
- palliative medicine physicians
- palliative care specialist nurses
- specialist allied health professionals
- specialist social workers
- counsellors and therapists
Not only the physical and emotional needs of service users must be met as they die; but also their spiritual or religious beliefs should be recognised. Their wishes should be respected, as well as their comfort and well-being attended to.
We work in in partnership with relatives, care establishments, district nurses and other professionals to enable people to have a “good death”, in the comfort of their chosen place to die, if that is possible.