In medicine, nursing and the allied health professions, end-of-life care refers to health care, not only of patients in the final hours or days of their lives, but more broadly care of all those with a terminal illness or terminal condition that has become advanced, progressive and incurable.
Health care or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in human beings.
Nursing is a profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life.
Terminal illness is a disease that cannot be cured or adequately treated and that is reasonably expected to result in the death of the patient within a short period of time.
My Wishes: An End Of Life Care Story (Patient) by Medway CCG
End-of-life care requires a range of decisions, including questions of palliative care, patients' right to self-determination, medical experimentation, the ethics and efficacy of extraordinary or hazardous medical interventions, and the ethics and efficacy even of continued routine medical interventions.
Palliative care is a multidisciplinary approach to specialized medical care and nursing care for people with life-limiting illnesses.
End of life care by NHS Choices
In addition, end-of-life often touches upon rationing and the allocation of resources in hospitals and national medical systems.
A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment with specialized medical and nursing staff and medical equipment.
Rationing is the controlled distribution of scarce resources, goods, or services, or an artificial restriction of demand.
Such decisions are informed both by technical, medical considerations, economic factors as well as bioethics.
Bioethics is the study of the ethical issues emerging from advances in biology and medicine.
In addition, end-of-life treatments are subject to considerations of patient autonomy. "
Ultimately, it is still up to patients and their families to determine when to pursue aggressive treatment or withdraw life support.
Life support refers to the treatments and techniques performed in an emergency in order to support life after the failure of one or more vital organs.
In most advanced countries, medical spending on those in the last twelve months of life makes up roughly 10% of total aggregate medical spending, and spending on those in the last three years of life can account for up to 25%.