Is Palliative Care the same thing as End of Life Care?

Unless you are a medical or caring professional, it can be hard to tell the difference between Palliative Care and End of Life Care, particularly if you or your family are facing into the kind of crisis that serious or terminal illness represents. To help make things a little clearer, we have put together this short guide to the two specialties:


End of Life Care is support for people who are in the last months or years of their life. This kind of care should help you to live as well as possible until you die, and to die with dignity. The people providing your care should ask you about your wishes and preferences, and take these into account as they work with you to plan your care. They should also support your family, carers, or other people who are important to you.

You have the right to express your wishes about where you would like to receive care and where you want to die. People who are approaching the end of life are entitled to high-quality care, wherever they’re being cared for.

Who provides End of Life Care?

Different health and social care professionals may be involved in your end of life care, depending on your needs. For example, hospital doctors and nurses, your GP, community nurses, hospice staff and counsellors may all be involved, as well as social care staff, chaplains (of all faiths or none), physiotherapists, occupational therapists or complementary therapists.


If you are being cared for at home or in a care home, your GP has overall responsibility for your care. Community nurses usually visit you at home, and family and friends may be closely involved in caring for you too.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is a multidisciplinary approach to specialised medical care for people with a serious illness, even if it is not life-threatening (yes this is accurate, palliative means pain relief- and towards the end of life this becomes a major focus for people – no one wants to die in pain its about giving them a quality of life without suffering- but  palliative can also be for people who are not imminently dying but who are in serious pain)  It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, physical stress, and mental stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis.


End of Life Care includes Palliative Care. If you have an illness that can’t be cured, palliative care makes you as comfortable as possible, by managing your pain and other distressing symptoms. It also involves psychological, social and spiritual support for you and your family or carers. This is called a holistic approach, because it deals with you as a “whole” person.


But palliative care care isn’t just for the end of life. You may receive palliative care earlier in your illness while you are still receiving other therapies to treat your condition.

Who provides Palliative Care?

Many healthcare professionals provide palliative care as part of their jobs. An example is the care you get from your GP, community nurses and social care staff.


Some people need additional specialist palliative care. This may be provided by consultants trained in palliative medicine, specialist palliative care nurses or specialist occupational therapists or physiotherapists. If the person is at home, our social care staff will also be providing care to this group of people and they are sometimes the people most involved on a day to day basis, both with the service user and their family. Our social care staff may be in the home four times a day and are required to understand, empathize and deal with all issues arising. They find this particular group of service users as both the most rewarding but also the most distressing to work with.


Palliative care teams are made up of different healthcare professionals and can co-ordinate the care of people with an incurable illness. As specialists, they also advise other professionals on palliative care.


Palliative care services may be provided by the NHS, your local council or a charity.

When does End of Life Care begin?

End of life care should begin when you need it and may last a few days, or for months or years.


People in lots of different situations can benefit from end of life care. Some of them may be expected to die within the next few hours or days. Others receive end of life care over many months.


People are considered to be approaching the end of life when they are likely to die within the next 12 months, although this isn’t always possible to predict. This includes people whose death is imminent, as well as people who:

  • have an advanced incurable illness such as cancer, dementia or motor neurone disease
  • are generally frail and have co-existing conditions that mean they are expected to die within 12 months
  • have existing conditions if they are at risk of dying from a sudden crisis in their condition
  • have a life-threatening acute condition caused by a sudden catastrophic event, such as an accident or stroke

How do I find out about End of Life Care services in my area?

If you are approaching the end of life, or caring for someone who is, and you want to find out about the care and support available, your first step is to speak to your GP or to call the number your healthcare professionals have given you.

Part of their job is to help you understand which services are available locally. You can ask about all sorts of help – for instance, there may be particular night-time services they can tell you about.

Glen Caring Services have invested in training staff in Final Journeys End of Life Care and have specialist trainers who provide the most up to date holistic care available for this group of service users in Omagh, Derry~Londondonderry, Strabane and Limavady. To find out more call us on 02882252666 or 07887508969 or email



Glen Caring – 20 years of care in the home

At Glen Caring, we’ve been providing care in the home since 1995. Today our 340-strong team of trained carers and management staff enable people of all ages and abilities to remain at home and maintain their independence by providing holistic care that is person-centred.

What this means for each client is that we carry out an assessment process so we can develop an individual care plan; then we find the right carer for you – someone who is a good match for your  individual needs and who will fit in to your family/household.  Our carers are available 24/7 and we can offer all day and night care packages when required.

“A good day for us is when you’ve had a great day”

Our service covers counties Tyrone, Fermanagh, Derry~Londonderry and Antrim and our clients have a range of different needs: age-related ability and mobility issues, dementia, learning difficulties, disabilities, long-term or short-term illness, mental health,  brain trauma, spinal injuries, and life-threatening or terminal illness.  We also provide respite care for relatives caring for a family member in their home.

Quality of care

The quality of our care is our primary concern, and drives the holistic approach on which we base our service.  As an organisation and as individuals, we put the needs and preferences of service users foremost, working to maintain their privacy, self-esteem and dignity at all times.

It’s an approach that continues to drive our growth. Because, even in these times of cutbacks, we’re developing and innovating:

  • Developing our people, supporting their growth, helping them to achieve qualifications and empowering them to deliver the best care possible
  • Innovating news ways of caring, providing support that maximises quality of life, planning resources carefully and effectively and seeking to always improve continuity of care.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust commission us to deliver high quality services to their clients. We are registered with RQIA and inspected by them annually (our inspection reports can be accessed via the RQIA website).

Our Vision:

“Our aim is to provide Holistic Care meeting the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of all those we care for at home, irrespective of health status, ability, race, religion or culture.  We put the needs and preference of our clients foremost, maintaining their privacy and self-esteem and dignity at all times.”

Our Services

Whether you are looking for care for yourself or for a loved one we will discuss and devise a holistic care plan which meets the individual needs of our client. Some of the care we offer includes:

  • A ‘good morning’ call for clients as a start to their day.
  • All aspects of personal care which includes – bathing, showering, full body washes, toileting and oral hygiene.
  • Our carers are trained to assist with stoma care, catheter care, PEG feeding and spinal injury care. (See carer training).
  • We will ensure client’s skin care is of a high standard to avoid skin breakdown and infection.
  • We help to remind, prompt and administer medication for clients while complying with our medication policy.
  • Prepare and serve meals and drinks throughout the day.
  • We carry out light household duties which can include – hovering, dusting, laundry and many other services.
  • Assisting clients with their daily or weekly shopping tasks by doing the shopping alongside the client or we can take a list do the shopping and pack it away.
  • We offer respite services/schemes to enable care providers (e.g. family members) to have a short term period of rest and recuperation.
  • Our carers provide social support and will endeavour to enable all clients to remain as independent as possible.
  • Our carers are available 24/7 and we can offer all day and night care packages when required.

This is not an exhaustive list of services we provide, so if you require any other care, need more information or wish to book an appointment, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.