How can I be referred to a hospice or palliative care service?
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.
I thought the hospice only cared for people with cancer?
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.
Do all Patients have to come to a Hospice for 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.
What palliative care will I receive in hospital?
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:
- physical symptoms such as pain or vomiting
- talking through treatment choices
- coming to terms with difficult news
- help with talking to other family members
- planning for place of care and facilitating patient choice
- referring on to hospice or community palliative care services in Suffolk and beyond
What palliative care can I receive at home?
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:
- Marie Curie nurse
- Care assistants
- Community dietician, occupational therapist, physiotherapist
- Social worker
- Family support worker, benefits advisor
- St Elizabeth Hospice
- St Nicholas Hospice Care
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.
What is a living will?
A living will or an ‘advance directive’ is a written statement in which you can record any of your decisions about which treatments you would like/would not like to have. This statement will help doctors and your family to know what your wishes are should you become too ill to tell them. A living will provides an opportunity to record any religious or cultural issues that are of importance.
What is the Marie Curie Delivering Choice Programme?
The main purpose of Marie Curie Delivering Choice Programme is to deliver better planning, choice and co-ordination of quality care to patients with a palliative (incurable) illness, so more patients can be cared for and die in the place of their choice.
What is End of Life Care?
End of life care is an important part of palliative care, and usually refers to the care of a person during the last part of their life, from the point at which it has become clear that the person is in a progressive state of decline. End of life care is usually a longer period than the time during which someone is considered to be “dying”. In the UK it is mainly health care professionals who use the term end of life care, whereas patients and their families are more likely to refer to terminal illness and terminal care. The time at the end of life is different for each person, and each person has unique needs for information, for support and for care.