Getting end of life care right

Here at Sherwood House residential care home in Nottinghamshire we provide care for older people at end of life. As care providers we believe that everyone has the right to be cared for with dignity, compassion and respect as end of life approaches.

Talking about dying and death and making a care plan

This is a time where advocacy and flexibility are vital for the resident and their family. The most challenging element of this process is dispelling the taboo around talking about death and handing over the control and ownership to those who choose how they want, or would want to spend their final days.

Many of us find it difficult to have these conversations with our nearest and dearest, but we should be more open and upfront to ensure our wishes are considered in the end of life care plan.

During these times we work through anxieties, high emotion and moments of impromptu humour. We do not want residents to feel like they are being instructed, instead we work towards supporting residents to feel listened to and involved.

We appreciate how important it is to be responsive and acknowledge that changes may happen without warning. We recognise that we are all entitled to change our minds, and if needed, change them back again. Residents do not need rigidity at this time in their life.

Our carers

It is paramount that our staff are fully trained, have access to good medical support and have a care plan that covers all care needs from admission to end of life. We have one chance to get it right to ensure residents and their families are supported at end of life.

The little details are taken care off and this starts as early as the pre-admission visits where staff note any preferences. These can include colours, music and views from the windows, favourite flowers, food and types of sleepwear. We encourage residents to personalise their space at Sherwood House, bringing with them furniture, pictures and possessions that will ensure they feel at home.

We provide care that includes the promotion of comfort, relief of pain and other symptoms. Staff take into consideration medication and how these may affect the resident to ensure we cater to their needs.

Following the wishes of the resident, staff develop ways to communicate with their family. There are a variety of ways this can be done: in person, on the phone, via a diary left in the resident’s room, by email or FaceTime.

When the time comes it is important we get it right for the residents. We ensure they feel loved and cared for, they are reassured and they know we respect their decisions.

What happens after death?

We support the families after the death of their loved one. Some families also choose to have the funeral car depart from Sherwood House. Our staff bid farewell to those that have passed just as they would welcome them. We will line the passage way to say our goodbyes respectively as they depart.

It is also important we talk to other residents and staff and ensure they are supported with the loss of those we care for.

The founder of the modern Hospice movement

One final note, we like the philosophy of Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern Hospice movement. Her drive was to deliver care with compassion as end of life approaches. She has a famous quote, ‘You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. How people die remains in the memory of those who live on.’ This resonates with us all and inspires us to continue providing compassionate care.

If you are looking for end of life care for someone special, please contact us. Our team are here to support your family when the time comes.