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Palliative care in your own home – a safe and simple alternative to hospice care

Most people suffering from a terminal illness would prefer to be cared for in their own home. The best way to make sure their wishes are fulfilled is to choose palliative care at home.

Evidence suggests that as many as four in five people would prefer to spend their final days in their own home. At the same time, there is a popular belief that if someone has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, the only realistic option is for them to move to a hospice or a hospital, so they can receive more intensive care. However, the truth is that only a small minority of people, essentially those diagnosed with an acute medical condition, require the extra level of nursing care which can be provided in a hospital or hospice.

For growing numbers of people faced with terminal illness, an increasingly popular alternative is palliative care at home, which will allow them to be cared for in the privacy and comfort of their own home, surrounded by fond memories and the people they love. With one-to-one support from a compassionate carer who is experienced in palliative care, they can remain at home, whilst having access to specialist medical support and symptom relief whenever they need it.

Palliative care is treatment, care and support for people with a life-limiting illness.  A life-limiting illness is one that cannot be cured and is thus likely to reduce life expectancy. Complex conditions that are life-limiting include advanced cancer, heart failure, COPD, dementia and motor neuron disease. The aim of palliative care is to ensure the person can maintain a good quality of life and remain active and independent for as long as possible. Palliative care also embraces support for the person’s family and friends.

Palliative care includes managing physical symptoms such as pain and nausea, assisting with personal care and offering emotional, spiritual and psychological support. Palliative care is not the same as end-of- life care and many people receive palliative care for months and sometimes for years.  End-of-life care is only required as the person approaches their final days and their care needs increase.

Your own home is best

Most people would prefer to spend their final months of life in their own home. Palliative live-in care will enable them to do so in privacy and dignity, surrounded by their loved ones and all their favourite things. Compared with the other options available, palliative care at home offers the greatest peace of mind, not just for the person approaching their end, but also for the other members of their family.

Flexibility and adaptability

Another benefit of palliative care at home is that it can be adjusted to meet a person’s changing needs. It may begin with daily visiting care before gradually increasing to full-time live-in care when the time is right. For anyone facing the challenges of a terminal illness, palliative care at home, with patient and sensitive care provided by a team of trained professionals offers a genuine alternative to hospice care.


Having an experienced and compassionate care professional on hand to take care of day-to-day tasks, such as meal preparation and housework, leaves family members free to focus on each other and spend quality time together. At the same time, the palliative carer is there in the background to provide emotional support when needed.

Keeping daily life as normal as possible

Coming to terms with a terminal illness is challenging enough without the additional burden of trying to find suitable hospice or residential care. Choosing palliative care at home will help keep things as normal and low-key as possible for everyone involved and will enable wider family and friends to visit whenever convenient, without anyone having to worry about formal visiting hours.

Continuity of care

Palliative care at home can offer greater continuity of care, with a dedicated team of carers assigned to individual clients, so they can get to know them and their preferences. This means that any changes in the person’s condition will be noticed and can be responded to immediately.

Each person’s health needs are different and palliative care at home may not be appropriate for everyone. For someone with an acute medical condition, for example, moving to a hospice or being treated in hospital might be the only safe option.

To receive care and support in line with your wishes, it is important you make your preferences known to your Family and Healthcare Team They will then advise you of the options available, discuss with you your preferred priorities of care and the advisability of advanced care planning. Your Health Team are in overall charge of the medical care that should be provided and are responsible for prescribing medication and treatments. If you would prefer to receive care in your own home, your health team will advise you what factors you may need to consider before reaching this decision. Where necessary they will arrange further support from other healthcare professionals, including specialists and they will also work with the local team of District Nurses to ensure your nursing needs are met.

If support at home is the priority for you and you have considered all the options available , you can then contact a CQC-registered care provider with experience in providing palliative care. An experienced provider can be relied upon to assess your needs objectively and work with you and your family and any other interested health professionals to ensure you receive the best possible care to meet your individual needs.

The care of every client is tailored to their individual needs. A palliative care plan is likely to include most if not all the following elements:

  • Symptom monitoring – the carers will monitor the person’s symptoms and work with their healthcare team to minimise discomfort
  • Pain management – making sure the person always receives the right medication and any other treatment needed at the right time
  • Personal care – assistance with washing, bathing, dressing and undressing and continence management
  • Assistance with mobility and getting around the house
  • Companionship – providing emotional and psychological support to the person and to their family

Domestic duties – as well as shopping and preparing meals, the carers will keep on top of the housework, including, for example, cleaning, vacuuming and dusting and doing the washing and ironing.

If you choose to receive palliative care at home, you should be assessed for NHS continuing healthcare. People with certain health needs can obtain care for free, funded by the NHS.

Speak to your GP, local authority or social care worker who will help you arrange an assessment.

If you choose to receive palliative care at home, you may be assessed for NHS continuing healthcare. People with certain health needs can obtain care for free, funded by the NHS.

Speak to your GP, local authority or social care worker who will help you arrange an assessment
nhs choices
CQC Good

Why choose Chesterford Homecare for palliative live-in care

We understand how difficult it can be for an individual – and for their family – to meet the challenges presented by terminal illness. As an experienced provider of palliative care our role is to support everyone involved so they can focus on each other and make the most of their time together.

Support tailored to the individual

Every individual is different and will have different needs and priorities. The care they receive must be flexible as well as sensitive. Some patients are aware their health is failing and simply want kind and gentle support to help them make the most of the time they have left. Others are too ill to be fully aware of the situation and need medication and close attention to their personal needs to help ease their pain or distress. Whatever type of care you are looking for, you can rely on Chesterford Homecare to provide your loved one with patient and dedicated support.

Properly trained and supervised care staff

Our palliative carers are trained to provide whatever support an individual coping with a terminal illness may need. This includes an understanding of both physical and mental health, as well as the specific needs of individual illnesses. Their work is regularly monitored and supervised time by our Care Manager through a combination of real-time online reporting and regular home visits.

Sensitive and dedicated care

Providing effective palliative care requires exceptional qualities, in particular an abundance of natural sensitivity and compassion, as well as strong practical care skills. Our palliative carers are carefully chosen and specifically trained to provide emotional and spiritual support, as well as personal care. They also understand that an important part of their role is to provide comfort and reassurance to family members, as well as to the person they are caring for.

Effective liaison with other healthcare professionals

Our palliative carers are used to working in partnership with medical professionals, including GPs, Community Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Macmillan and Marie Curie nurses to make sure our clients receive all the medical care and attention they need.

Chesterford Homecare – the right provider for live-in palliative care

If someone close to you would prefer to receive palliative care in their own home, then choose Chesterford Homecare. You can rely on skilled and sensitive care being provided, with our carers trained to combine calm professionalism with kindness and sensitivity to create a calm and peaceful atmosphere for the benefit of everyone involved.

How soon can palliative carers be arranged?

With long-term illnesses, symptoms can develop or change relatively quickly. The need to arrange palliative care can become urgent, especially if someone is in pain or distress. If your loved one is currently in hospital or in residential care, we can respond quickly to help you arrange the support they will need to be able to return home safely quickly and safely.

If you think palliative care at home would be the right care option for someone close to you, then please contact us in one of the ways listed below:

0800 4118636