Find Laws Find Lawyers Free Legal Forms USA State Laws
Home » Find Laws » Elder Law Laws » End Of Life Care » End of Life Care Overview

End of Life Care Overview

End Of Life Care Overview

Unfortunately, even with the impressive advancement of technology, not all diseases and illnesses are curable. When a loved one is suffering from an incurable condition, it is normal for an individual to be uncertain of the proper way to handle the situation.

Enlisting the assistance of end-of-life care services may be advantageous for both a patient and his/her loved ones. While many families choose to undertake the responsibility of caring for a loved one under these circumstances, this places a large burden on the caretakers, both physically and emotionally.

Specialized fields of health care have been developed to address the specific needs of dying patients. By employing professionals who specialize in this field, a family can ensure that their loved one has access to essential resources and medical treatments. These medical professionals will have the ability to administer effective medication that will decrease the patient's suffering. This course of action will also permit a family to spend time with their loved one without having to maintain the primary role of caretakers.


End-of-life care provides individuals with essential support during the most frightening and uncertain period of their lives. Generally, as its title suggests, end-of-life care is reserved for individuals who are suffering from a terminal illness. People who have entered the final phases of life maintain unique needs that must be addressed.

In many cases, individuals in terminal cases will require continuous attention to ensure that their needs are met, as terminal diseases are often extremely painful. Through constant monitoring, medical professionals can help to ensure that the proper treatments are administered to reduce pain experienced by the patient.

End-of-life care is generally aimed at comforting a patient and controlling his/her symptoms as much as possible. When an individual is receiving end-of-life care, curative treatments have already proven to be unsuccessful, making this most important initiative to support the patient through his/her final weeks of life.

Association with Terminal Illness

In most cases, an individual will not recover from an illness deemed to be terminal. When an individual is diagnosed with a terminal illness, his/her physical health will continuously deteriorate until his/her body ceases to function. When a patient is considered to be terminal, he/she is usually in his/her final stages of life.

The last few months of life are generally the most severe, and as the disease continues to progress, the pain will become increasingly excruciating. Though terminal illnesses can not be cured, a patient will be provided with some form of end-of-life care to ensure that his/her needs are met. In most cases, end-of life care focuses on diminishing the pain experienced by the sufferer and providing him/her with comfort and support.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is a type of medical treatment that seeks to induce comfort by decreasing the severity of associated symptoms. Palliative care often involves the use of pain medication in order to diminish an individual's suffering. However, this type of treatment may also include surgical procedures, as well as processes such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy. Palliative treatment is generally not used to treat illnesses, it is only used to provide comfort to an individual who is suffering from painful conditions.

This type of care may be used in association with treatments that are intended to cure an individual of his/her illness. This will help to ensure that while an individual is being treated for his/her medical condition, he/she is also being provided with the care that is necessary to help quell the extensive physical pain that is often associated with serious illnesses.

Hospice Care

Hospice care is a type of end-of-life care that is reserved for individuals who are suffering from a terminal illness. Generally, individuals are only provided with hospice care when they have a short-term life expectancy of under six months. This period is usually extremely difficult for the patient, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Hospice care provides sick individuals with access to resources that address all of his/her needs.

The availability of clergymen allows a patient to address any spiritual concerns that he/she may maintain. Likewise, counselors and therapists will often be made available to a patient to assist him/her cope with the reality of his/her illness. Perhaps the most beneficial feature of hospice care is the physical comfort that it provides to patients. This type of care generally employs palliative care techniques to ensure that a patient remains as comfortable as possible during the final phase of his/her life.

Advance Directives

As an individual's age and his/her physical health deteriorates, he/she may consider establishing advance directives. Advance directives are legally binding documents that detail the wishes and desires of an individual, specifically pertaining to his/her health care and medical treatment. An individual may create a living will to detail the medical treatments that he/she does not wish to be subjected to, especially in regards to life support and life-extending treatment.

He/she may also choose to appoint a durable power of attorney to make decisions regarding his/her medical care in the event that he/she becomes incapacitated. On of the most commonly used advance directives is a "Do Not Resuscitate" order. These documents will help to ensure that an individual is not revived through CPR against his/her will. In many instances, exiting medical conditions substantially decrease an individual's quality of life, and therefore, he/she would rather not be resuscitated when his/her body stops functioning.

Advance directives are essential to ensure that an individual's wishes are upheld in the event that he/she is unable to speak for himself/herself. Normal 0 21 false false false ES X-NONE X-NONE

NEXT: Understanding The Background to End of Life Care

Related Articles

Link To This Page


Find an WA Lawyer
Guide to Finding a Lawyer