What is palliative care?

If you have been told your health may not improve or you have a life limiting illness, you may be offered palliative care. The healthcare professionals caring for you will offer to talk to you (and anyone else you would like to be involved) about what this means for you.

The aim of palliative care is to maximise your quality of life by treating and relieving the symptoms and side effects of your illness, combined with supporting you and your family/carer practically and emotionally.

What is end of life care?

You may hear the term end of life care. This is care for people who are considered to be in the last year of life and to help people live as well as possible and to die with dignity. The last year of life can be difficult to predict as it will depend on the person and their underlying condition.

How do I access palliative care services ?

The healthcare professionals and others providing you with support will give you their contact details. If you are concerned or worried please contact them.

If you need specialist palliative care your healthcare team will usually make a referral. If you feel you need this help, you can discuss it with your hospital doctor or GP.

 

 

Is palliative care just for people who are dying?

People can receive palliative care alongside any ongoing treatment or drug therapies at any point of their diagnosis of advanced illness. It promotes comfort and the best quality of life for as long as possible.

If I accept a referral to palliative care services does it mean I am giving up hope?

Accepting a referral simply means you will receive additional support to promote your quality of life, based on your individual choices, so you can live as fully as possible for as long as possible. It can be provided alongside active treatment of your condition.

If I accept palliative care, does it mean I will have no control over my care?

Palliative care services actively promote choice and control over personal decisions, putting the you at the centre of everything.

Is it only the person who is ill who can benefit from palliative care?

Palliative care is designed to help the family and friends of the person who is ill as well. If someone close to you has an advanced illness, it can have a big impact on you and you may need help and support.

Is palliative care just about helping people relieve pain and other physical symptoms?

Palliative care is an approach rather than a type of treatment. It involves a combination of care and support that looks after all the important aspects of a person’s well-being.

Does palliative care mean I will die more quickly?

Palliative care does not mean you will die more quickly. It provides comfort and the best possible quality of life from your diagnosis until the end of your life.

Is palliative care only provided by specialists?

Palliative care is delivered by different types of healthcare teams, as well as by specialists, in peoples’ homes, care homes, hospitals or hospices.