When asked where they would like to die, the majority of people say that they wish to die in their own home, as long as they aren't a burden to their own family. If you are trying to organise end of life care for a loved one here are some ways you can help.
Discuss and write down an end of life plan
Unfortunately, one of the things that prevents people from dying at home is loved ones calling an ambulance as soon as a medical emergency arises. In order to prevent this, discuss and write down a protocol for which circumstances an ambulance should be called and which should not. Make sure this plan is clearly displayed and ensure that anyone who is looking after your loved one is familiar with the protocol.
Organise end of life, in-home health care
While you are not aiming to prolong life unnecessarily, end of life patients often require in-home health care from medical professionals to manage pain medication and any medical equipment they have come in on include central lines, IVs and respirators. Having regular check-ins from medical professionals can ensure that the palliative care is managed appropriately and that there is no unnecessary suffering. This can also minimise stress for family members and allow them to focus on spending quality time with their loved one, rather than worrying about appropriate medication levels and managing the auxiliary medical equipment.
Schedule some fun and interesting activities
While a lot of the focus may be on your loved one's imminent death, it's important to also leave some time and energy for living. Make sure to have favourite foods in the house, watch movies together and spend time doing the activities you can still manage together. In many cases, by improving the quality of life during these last days, patients often have a higher life expectancy if they receive palliative care compared to aggressive treatments.
Look after yourself as well
It can be very tiring to provide end of life care to a loved one, both emotionally and physically. Be sure to schedule some time where other carers take over from you so that you can rest and recharge. If you don't have family care you can often get in-home respite care through an agency.
Allowing a loved one to die at home can be a beautiful gift for them, and a way to share these last moments with them fully.