For many of our residents, Halland House is a home for life. We provide a family atmosphere, a place to live and be cared for, and a place to laugh and be happy until the end. For our carers, this means they need to be aware of end-of-life care measures. It’s never pleasant to lose a resident but we find solace in the knowledge that we are able to give them the best life we can right to the end. If we can prevent the stress and upset of a resident having to go into hospital at such a sensitive time, then we will.
Preparation begins early
Living in a care home where people reach the end of their lives, our residents need to be aware of the nature of life and death. We take care to talk to them about the subject of death and dying in a sensitive way, helping them to understand it in a way that has meaning to them. These conversations can include talking to residents about what might happen when they die and helping them to be prepared for the final stage of life.
We have a beautiful remembrance garden here at Halland House, where residents, staff, family and loved ones, can go to spend time thinking about someone who has passed on. Sometimes, people will sit together and share happy memories, another way of helping our residents cultivate a healthy understanding of death. It’s also helpful for our care staff, who are close to the residents and grieve for them once they are gone.
Advance care planning is a process we use to make sure a person’s wishes regarding the end of their life are clear. Not everyone with a learning disability has the mental capacity to fully participate in planning, but they have a right to make their own choices and we work with family and friends to create a plan that is satisfactory for everyone involved.
Friends and family
Part of end-of-life care is keeping friends and family informed and included. This is the group of people who have the best knowledge of the person who is reaching the end of their life, and we understand that they may have suggestions. Our carers do all they can to see to the needs of our residents, but they will be happy to take on suitable suggestions for things that could ease or improve the remaining time someone has left.
If the time and situation allow, people may want to come and say goodbye in person. We always welcome visitors to Halland House and do what we can to facilitate this. The carer-resident relationship is a close one, and carers who have worked with the person in the past sometimes come back to visit with them while there is still time.
Knowing when end-of-life care is necessary
It is important to be able to identify when someone is nearing the end-of-life stage and adjust their care as necessary. Our care staff are close to the residents and are adept at noticing changes that could be indicative of reaching this stage. We regularly review our personalised care plans, noting any changes in health and behaviour.
By noticing when someone is in their last stage of life, we can give them the best possible care with regard to managing symptoms and supporting them to enjoy a good quality of life. We can talk to them and make sure they understand what is happening, and that any plans they want to make are in place.
If you think you have a good understanding of end-of-life learning disabilities care, we always want to hear from people who would be a good fit working at Halland House. Find out about care jobs in our Uckfield care home.