Anyone who chooses to work in the care profession will see daily the difference they can make to not just the person they care for but for their wider family and friends. This is even more evident when you choose a job in palliative care in a person’s own home.
While you might assume a hospital or hospice would be the best place for a palliative care patient, there have been inefficiencies and deficiencies in many hospital’s abilities to provide meaningful palliative care services. In-home palliative carers can ensure people have access to what they need when they need it.
What does palliative in-home care involve?
Live-in palliative carers make a difference every day to the lives of the people receiving care and their family by providing support that enables people otherwise requiring care home, nursing home or hospice care to stay in their own home. For people living alone, they gain a companion and a carer who can help them maintain relationships more readily than the structured environment of care away from home can facilitate. You will become a friend and confidante and maybe the voice that helps them convey to family, friends and the medical profession how they see their situation.
As a palliative carer, you will be matched with an individual requiring the level of support or medical background that you have, so you will be using your skills to enrich the end-of-life period of someone both on a professional and personal level. No matter your age or background, you will meet an individual and become part of their home and daily life, so matching personalities is also part of ensuring that the right partnership is made.
What qualities do I need to have?
Working in palliative care requires a holistic patient care approach and being able to liaise with other professionals to ensure that care given meets the rights and needs of the patient to provide them with the best possible end-of-life period. Offering patient-centred care is key to the role. Many people leave specific medically-based jobs and join the growing number of palliative care providers choosing to give in-home care.
The benefits of in-home care enable young people to stay with families when they face life-limiting or terminal diagnoses. It also helps elderly couples remain together in the home they have built together, keep a pet that they love, or enjoy having family and friends visit when it suits, rather than when timetables dictate.
Part of the job is like being a friend that lives in to help when needed. The person you are caring for can keep their own timetable to get dressed, eat breakfast or go to bed at a time they want to. You would also help with medication to ensure the person receives the treatments they need on time and can liaise with doctors, health professionals and family about things you have noticed or to convey the patient’s wishes when they are able. All these form part of the role of a palliative in-home carer.
For many families, the care of a loved one is not something they can take on themselves, either through distance, work commitments or perhaps their own health issues, so they look to a live-in-carer to support their family members’ needs and offer appropriate care for them. Becoming a palliative live in carer could give families the peace of mind they need that their loved one is receiving care that is personal to their needs.