Planning end-of-life care

My mother has vascular dementia and is in hospital following a fall. She has had a hip replacement but her recovery has not been good. She is unable to walk now, she is not eating and drinking, and has been treated for pneumonia and a urinary tract infection. I don’t think she is going to get any better, so I would like to look after her at home as she always had a wish to die at home. The nurse has said my mother should go to a nursing home as I won’t be able to cope at home. Is this right?

Firstly, speak to the hospital doctor and Discharge Coordinator and let them know that you would like to care for your mother at home. She may be eligible for Continuing Care Funding, so ask the ward lead nurse to get this process underway as it can be lengthy. This funding will cover your mother’s nursing needs at home. It may not cover the full cost of the care but will cover a large part of it.

Request an Occupational Therapy assessment of your home so that the right equipment can be supplied. This may be a specialist bed, a hoist, an air mattress and a suitable chair.

You will need some help with caring for your mother at home. The Discharge Coordinator can help with this and you can look at advice that Age UK have and The Live in Care Hub, as you can have help coming in intermittently through the day, or live in care which supports 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Speak to your mother’s GP about her discharge and ask about the District Nurse team and the Palliative Care Team. Both these teams can help and support you with your mother’s care when she gets home, and the hospital will refer her to their care when she is discharged.