When people are facing the end of life, whether it is themselves or a loved one, it can be very difficult to decide between all the care options that are available. There are many factors to consider, which may complicate the picture for caregivers who are often faced with arranging appropriate end-of-life care in a timely manner.
Individuals at the end of life can receive care in a variety of settings. Their selection is largely dependent upon the level of care they require, the resources that are available and their individual wishes.
Levels of care and location can be strongly related when making a selection. For example, someone who is chronically ill and wishes to forego intensive life-sustaining measures in order to die peacefully at home would probably wish to avoid hospitalization at the end of their life. However, there are other care options available that can provide a patient like this (and their family) with comfort care and therapeutic services in their own home.
It can be very challenging for family members to assist with these weighty decisions or make them on a loved one’s behalf. Advance care planning is critical to ensuring that caregivers know what their loved ones’ preferences are. Proper planning also helps medical professionals accurately interpret and execute these wishes as well.
The following list summarizes end-of-life care options, where they are provided, the benefits they offer and how these services are paid for (with an approximation of current costs as available).