When there is no cure for an illness, palliative care tries to make the end of a person’s life as comfortable as possible. This is done by attempting to relieve pain and other distressing symptoms while providing psychological, social and spiritual support.
Carers and family are also offered emotional and spiritual support. This is called a ‘holistic’ approach to care. Some people with conditions such as cancer can live for many years but they some- times need treatments such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy to help keep their cancer or other condition under control.
Palliative care can be offered following such treatments or, in the earlier stages of an illness, alongside other treatments. This can be particularly important for children and young people who may live with a life-limiting condition for a long time.
The person you’re looking after can receive palliative care in a number of ways:
Specialist palliative care teams are also available in hospitals. They are sometimes called the Macmillan support team or symptom control team. They can include doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains, or the service can be provided by a single nurse. The service provides education, training and specialist advice on pain and symptom manage- ment to hospital staff. They advise staff on the patient’s discharge plan or transfer to a hospice, community hospital or care home. They also provide emotional support directly to patients and carers.
Providing palliative care in the home. The person you’re looking after may not need to move away from home to benefit from palliative care. Hospice staff are often on call 24 hours a day and can visit them at home.
Find agencies using the Care at Home Today online directory of of homecare and domiciliary care services in the UK: www.careathometoday.co.uk
Telephone 01778 394595.
Care homes and Palliative care homes
Please browse the Reading Services Guide to find a hospice. Most pallitiave care is provided in a hospice. Hospices are run by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, counsellors and trained volunteers.