How to talk to your loved one about palliative care at home

  26th April, 2023

Seeing your loved one struggle to cope with a life-altering diagnosis is a challenging and turbulent situation to face. Small-scale activities can now seem like a huge challenge, which can take a serious toll on anyone’s mental wellbeing. As much as you would love to be there 24/7 to lend a helping hand, and ensure they’re adequately looked after, putting your life on hold isn’t the answer.

What you can do, is take action in helping find a palliative care provider such as Arbour Companions and Care, that can be there for your loved one every step of the way, and every moment of the day. Our carers are trained and qualified to help with all types of care, from personal to psychological aid. There’s nothing we’re more passionate about than helping people that need extra support, to live life to the fullest.

However, broaching the conversation about care options can be easier said than done. A terminal diagnosis is deeply distressing for all those involved, and tensions can run high. However, as care professionals, we’re here to advise you when it comes to talking to a loved one about palliative care at home in a way that’s sensitive, dignifying and respectful of their wishes. 

As a live-in care provider, we understand the individual necessity for independence, and the importance of establishing a daily routine in the face of a life-limiting diagnosis to provide a sense of safety and security. We want to help you, help your loved one. That’s why we’ve come up with some ways to open a productive and transparent dialogue about live-in palliative care with your loved one, to ensure they have the best quality of life from the very point of diagnosis. 

Be patient 

A terminal diagnosis is bound to stir a fluctuation of emotions, for yourself and your loved one affected. Feelings of rage, denial, guilt and sadness can creep up anytime and make a conversation about care options difficult. Remaining patient and understanding is the key to opening up a conversation that is productive when it comes to putting a palliative care plan in place, and centres your loved one’s needs.

Accept moments of denial

If your elderly parent is diagnosed with a terminal illness, they may find it difficult to accept care or advise. After all, they’ve spent years looking after you and tending to your needs, and are now placed into a position which is the complete opposite. This may bring on moments of denial and refusal of the hand you’re offering them. In this case, you must remain persistent yet sensitive to their moments of denial of the situation. You can ask questions that show your place their best interests at the heart of your efforts, and that you’ve done the best research when it comes to a care plan that is right for them. 

Choose the right time

Timing is everything when it comes to difficult situations. Your loved one might be having a particularly bad day, in a mental or physical capacity. In this case, a conversation regarding care might not be a smart option. Arranging a meal always creates a good environment for some deep discussions, and may be an ideal time to approach the topic of care with your loved one. 

Understand their needs & wants

Your loved one’s needs should always motivate your search for the right care option. This will lead to a positive conversation where your loved one will feel heard and valued. Palliative care can be catered to their needs and routines, and ensuring they’re aware of this benefit of live-in care is crucial. Making them see that carers are not strangers trying to intrude in their space is also important. Do your own research on their diagnosis, and what they might need at home to provide maximum comfort and security and work a care plan around this so they can see you’ve considered all options and come up with the best solution. 

Reassurance goes a long way

One conversation might not be enough when it comes to discussing care options. You may need to approach the conversation in various different ways, and build up to your final point. Weaving reassurance into these conversations is vital to ensuring your loved one understands the situation, and your intentions for helping them. 

Stand by them

Your loved one may feel like they’re completely alone in their situation, and that the suggestion of care could put them even further into a state of isolation. However, showing them that you’ll be supporting them every step of the way, and in close conversation with the team of live-in professionals assigned to help them, is key to putting a palliative care plan in place for your loved one. 

  • "The carers have been very good, one even using her free time to visit the husband in hospital and really going the extra mile."

    ED Westcott

  • "The  care that Jola provides is fabulous in every respect. I cannot praise her highly enough for the patience she shows with. It was a happy day when she came to us "

    RL Englefield Green

  • "As far as I am concerned, Roberta has been an absolute rock for our family. Completely unselfish in her care and invaluable."

    CB Guildford

  • "We are absolutely delighted with Karolina she is gentle and kind I love chatting to her and really enjoy her company."

    JH Cambridge

  • "Arbour provided live-in carers for my wife for six years from 2017-2023 including the pandemic. My main impression is of a very professional organisation in which owners and staff worked all the time to provide the support the client needed at as high a standard as possible. They gave equal attention to statutory requirements, care plans and staff training and never cut any corners."


  • "The support that we have had from Arbour Care has been, quite literally, lifesaving. They found an amazing carer to look after my elderly and disabled husband, who is very experienced, kind and thoughtful. She has made an enormous positive difference to the quality of our lives and I will always be grateful to her and cannot thank her enough."