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Prescribing in end-of-life care

02 June 2019
Volume 1 · Issue 6


End-of-life care aims to support a person in the last stages of a life-limiting condition to live as well as possible until they die. Prescribing at the end-of-life presents many challenges. Advanced care planning can be carried out so that health professionals are aware and supportive of the patient's and their family's wishes. This article discusses the care and management of patients as they receive care at the end of their life as well as any anticipatory medication that may be needed.

End-of-life care aims to support people who are in the last months or years of their life. End-of-life care should help a person to live as well as possible until they die and to help them die with dignity. ‘Advanced care planning is a process that supports adults at any age or stage of health in understanding and sharing their personal values, life goals and preferences regarding future medical care. The goal of advance care planning is to help ensure that people receive medical care that is consistent with their values, goals and preferences during serious and chronic illness.’ (Sudore et al, 2017: 826).

Advanced care planning is key to improving care for people nearing the end-of-life. It enables better provision of care to help the patient live well and die well in the place and manner of their choosing. The main goal of advanced care planning is to clarify patient's wishes, needs and preferences and to deliver care accordingly. This may include the place where the patient would like to be cared for in their final days, such as at home, in a hospice or a hospital. It is important to establish who the patient would like to decide about care if they lose capacity or are unable to express a preference in the future. The patient may formally appoint somebody to make decision on their behalf using a Lasting Power of Attorney.

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