What Is End of Life Care?

Many people struggle with knowing when they should organise end of life care for their loved one, or how it works when they do. This can cause added stress in an already emotional time, and not being ready for the care when it’s needed could leave the individual without the care they need. We’ve made this guide to help you understand end of life care better. But first, let’s learn more about what end of life care is.

End of life care is a service that supports people in the last days, months, or years of their life. As it’s intended for those that have a terminal illness or are about to die, it isn’t aimed at curing or recovering, but rather making the person as comfortable and happy as possible until they pass.

Read on to find out more about end of life care, when it should start, what’s included in it, how long it will last, and more.

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What Is End of Life Care?

End of life care acts as support for people who are in their last years or months of their life. The purpose of this is to provide the best quality of life possible so that they can enjoy their remaining time and pass with dignity. The care and support that the carers provide will take into consideration the client’s specific preferences and requirements.

By supporting people in this way, end of life care not only provides a better quality of life for the person being cared for, but also for their loved ones. It can give peace of mind to friends and family that the individual is being looked after adequately without placing them into the stressful carer role. With recent complaints about the quality of NHS end of life care, there’s never been a better time to look into private end of life care at home.

When Should End of Life Care Start?

People with a wide range of conditions can benefit from end of life care. No matter what the condition or reason may be, end of life care should be initiated whenever it is needed.

There’s no specific point where end of life care should start, so it can often be difficult to know when to initiate it. However, if the person is struggling or experiencing a lower quality of life, it could be time to consider end of life care at home.

If you’re unsure whether you or your loved one is ready, get in touch with a member of our team and we can give you helpful, honest advice as to your options.

What Are the 5 Priorities of End of Life Care?

Effective end of life care requires a personalised care plan that is designed with the requirements and preferences of  the individual in mind. All end of life plans should be tailor made, and take into account the person’s lifestyle, dietary requirements, preferences, religious and cultural benefits, and more.

Nutritional Care

There can be multiple changes to eating habits throughout end of life care, so having an expert on hand is important for the client’s overall wellbeing. These changes can be caused by things such as:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Changes in taste and smell
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tiredness
  • Anxiety or stress

Each person is unique and has different dietary preferences and requirements, and a carer will always take these into consideration to ensure their client’s happiness.

Pain & Stress Management

Many conditions that individuals may have when entering end of life care at home can cause pain and discomfort. A carer will create a comfortable environment for you to live in to help alleviate these symptoms. This could include things such as playing quiet music or involving them in simple activities to make sure they’re as comfortable as possible.


One of the most common worries for family members and friends can be that their loved one will be lonely, especially in their last hours. End of life care at home provides companionship and ensures that the last period of their life is filled with happiness and laughter. Aside from the companionship with the carer themselves, they’ll also be able to assist with taking part in hobbies, community activities, and calling or seeing friends and family.

Personal Hygiene

Many individuals at their end of life will need assistance with personal care and hygiene such as bathing, showering, and brushing teeth. An end of life carer is able to assist with any tasks that the client needs help with, while enabling independence on any tasks that do not require their help.


A clean and tidy home can make a huge difference to mental health and overall happiness. While many people at the end of life stage won’t be able to maintain their house themselves, an end of life carer will help with any tasks that they’re unable to do themselves. This could include dusting, vacuuming, cleaning, changing bed linen and towel, mopping floors, and other general housekeeping duties.

How Long Does End of Life Care at Home Usually Last?

End of life is generally defined as the period in which a person is in a critical health condition or has a terminal illness. As the person could ask for end of life care at home before this time and the length of this period can vary greatly, there’s no definitive answer to this question. For some it may last a few days, whereas others might require end of life care for months or longer.

End of Life Care at Home With Rivendell Care & Support

At Rivendell Care, we’re a family run business that’s focused on providing a quality service to all of our clients. Our expert team provides end of life care at home to make our clients feel as happy and comfortable as possible.

We also provide 24 hour care and live in care, elderly care, and disability care for many of our clients, depending on their personal needs and requirements. Get in touch with a member of our team to discuss the needs of you or your loved one so that we can help you choose the right option for you.

End of Life Care at Home FAQs

Is End of Life Care the Same as Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a much broader term that covers a wider range of conditions. While end of life care covers people with terminal illnesses or conditions that means that they are soon to die, palliative care doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to die. It can cover any illness or condition and is there to support you throughout the process for as long as you need.

Can You Recover From End of Life Care at Home?

While it is true that some people with acute periods of illness can recover from their condition, this is not the primary concern of end of life care. End of life care at home is intended as a service for those who are expected to pass away shortly, to try to make their last days or months as comfortable and enjoyable as possible before they pass.

Who Pays for End of Life Care at Home?

Private end of life care is often paid for from the client’s estate or family to cover the needs of their end of life stage. This is often a comfort for family members who pay for the care, as it can relieve the stress of leaving their loved one alone or without help for periods to go to work or live their own life.

If you meet certain conditions and requirements, private end of life care can also be funded by the local authority or continuing healthcare. Check your local authority’s specific requirements to see if you meet their criteria.