If you have a terminal illness, or are approaching the end of your life, it may be a good idea to make plans in advance for the future of your care. Planning ahead in this way is sometimes called advance care planning. It involves thinking and talking about your wishes for how you are cared for in the final months of your life.
End of life care helps you to live as well as possible until you die, and to die with dignity. It also includes support for your family or carers.
If you have an incurable illness, palliative care will help to make you as comfortable as possible while providing psychological, social and spiritual support for you and your family or carers.
Many healthcare professionals can be involved in providing end of life care. Most hospitals have special palliative care teams who co-ordinate all these services. When end of life care begins depends on your needs, it may last a few fays, or for months or years. End of life care begins when you need it, and will continue for as long as you need it.
Most people would choose to die at home if they were terminally ill. The Suffolk ACP Project began following a two year Marie Curie Programme. The NHS in Suffolk is working in partnership with the Marie Curie Cancer Care, Suffolk County Council's Social Services, voluntary organisations and local charities to deliver the Marie Curie Delivering Choice Programme. This programme works towards allowing more people to be treated and to die at home.
For more information contact Ipswich and East Suffolk St Elizabeth Hospice 0800 5670111 or West Suffolk St Nicholas Hospice 01284 766133.
Visit our Palliative care page for more information
Advance Care Planning - planning for your future care
If you are not approaching the end of your life, you may still want to think about your wishes for your own end of life care. This could include:
Visit our 'Your will and legal matters' page for more information