6. Support for you the carer > End of Life Care

End of Life Care

2) Difficult Decisions

Discussion between a carer and member of NHS staff
One of the difficult decisions that will need to be made is what treatments are appropriate for the individual person. This will depend not only on the medical condition, but also on their previously expressed wishes, the seriousness of their situation, or any other religious or moral view. You know the person best and should talk to the staff team about these things.

When the condition of the person has become so serious that they might not survive the stroke or if they do , that they would have a very poor quality of life, it is important to think about what the person would have wanted for themselves under these circumstances. Would they prefer to fight on or be given the care and support they need to keep them comfortable for their last days? Ask the doctors about what the future would be and the options for treatment and care.

One example of this might be around the question of antibiotics to treat a chest infection. You may have talked to the person on a previous occasion about this – what was their view? There should be discussions with the person (if possible) and with the carers and family about what the treatment goals are. If someone is dying, it may not be the best thing to give every treatment possible. Sometimes treatments can be of little further use and may be withdrawn, especially if they are causing pain or distress to the person. It may be that treatment should focus on keeping the person comfortable and pain free. All decisions should be clearly documented so that the staff are aware of the care plan.