Palliative care is medical support for people who have life-threatening illnesses. Although this kind of care is mostly needed by the elderly, it can also be necessary for anyone of any age.
Palliative care is designed to bring relief from all manner of symptoms such as pain, the effects of treatments such as chemotherapy, depression or progressive disorders such as pulmonary disease, renal failure or heart problems. The care is intended principally for the care recipient but is also relevant for all those other people involved such as partners, friends and the family.
When faced with this dilemma you will almost certainly want to stay in the comfort of your own home rather than move into an institution. How you get the care you need is the next problem. Once the institutional option has been discounted, and there has been enough bad press surrounding neglect and even abuse in this sector to support your decision, then the next choice is whether to use a private palliative care agency or recruit and hire your own carer.
There are arguments for both options. If you are contemplating advertising for your own carer you need to be aware that at a time of your life when everything should be focused on making the quality of your life as good as it possibly can be, you have just decided to take on all the responsibilities of an employer.
Private care, on the other hand, may be a little more expensive, but will do all this for you. Some will argue that employing your own personal carer will provide continuity, increased familiarity with your carer and the relationship you are looking for is almost guaranteed. This does sound like a good reason until you look at some of the legislation which, as an employer, you will have to abide by.
Apart from negotiating levels of pay, you will need to consider the National Living Wage and issues such as the maximum of forty-eight hours work per week that your carer may insist is all he or she can legally be obliged to do. If for any reason the relationship with your ‘perfect’ carer breaks down after two years of service and you want to terminate the contract, then you will have to prove that dismissal is unfair.
A private palliative care provider such as Guardian Carers will take over all the burdens of being the employer, the contractual obligations and the provision of qualified and experienced carers as and when you need them. No single carer is ever going to be able to be omnipresent day and night.
If you decide to look for private palliative carers, make sure you check references, what training your carers have and how they are supervised. It is always a good idea to check complaints procedures and that there will always be the provision, when necessary, of a suitable substitute. At the end of the day what you and your family need is the peace of mind that you are all in safe hands.