You or a family member can ask for help from the local hospices or your own GP, hospital doctor or District Nurse can also arrange for you or a family member to be referred to them or a palliative care service. Do talk to your doctor or any of the staff caring for you if you have worries or concerns or want to discuss the option of a referral.
Many hospices used to just care for cancer patients but in the last 15 years practically all hospices cater for people who have diseases other than cancer. In fact the diagnosis is not a barrier at all to the services offered and whether you have cancer, lung disease, heart disease, neurological disease or you have reached the end of your life due to old age or frailty we can offer you the support you need. However, the hospice does not provide long term care.
No, in fact the majority of our patients are cared for in their own home by their family with support from their local doctor, district nurse and with specialist advice from the hospices specially trained staff. Sometimes patients problems are too complex and an admission is necessary to try and overcome these problems. Patients who are actually dying have a choice of whether to stay at home or to come in to the hospice. This may be influenced by the support available in the home and the patients and carers choice. It is the case that needs can change throughout the illness and so do the choices of the patient and we are happy to support patients where they want to be.
The hospital palliative care team is an advisory service and provides specialist assessment and advice on the management of a range of issues that may face patients and their relatives and carers. This may include:
Many health and social care professionals and volunteers are available to support patients receiving palliative and end of life care at home. It is important to discuss your wishes and preferences for care with your district nurse and GP. They may enlist the help of:
You may not need all of these professionals or may need only to see some from time to time. The nursing team will organise your care after making assessment of your needs and the needs of your family or carer. The team will make every effort to make sure you remain at home, if that is your wish, however this may not be possible. Alternatives to home are care homes, hospice or hospital.