Services for people requiring palliative care
What is palliative care?
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life threatening illness - defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This is achieved through the prevention and relief of suffering by:
- early identification
- treatment of pain
- treatment of other problems such as physical, psychosocial and spiritual
In 2004 the World Health Organisation recommended that planning for care at the end of life should be responsive to patient choice regarding place of care and place of death.
Palliative and end of life care are integral aspects of the care delivered by any health or social care professional to those living with, and dying from, any advanced, progressive or incurable condition. Palliative care focuses on the person, not the disease. It applies an holistic approach to meeting the physical, practical, functional, social, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and carers facing progressive illness and bereavement.
What services are available?
Our social work services work in partnership with health services and the voluntary sector to provide a social work and home care service for people needing palliative care.
A member of the primary care team manages your care along with social work. Your primary care provider can make a referral to social work for you if needed. Before we can provide care your needs will be assessed.
A member of our social work team will discuss your needs with you and your family after the assessment. They will give you information about the services available to you, including specialist services. A package of care is developed based on your identified needs - this is called a care plan. The social worker will make arrangements to start the care and arrange any other assistance needed as part of this plan. A typical plan may look at types of practical, financial and social support.
People living at home or in residential care are supported by their GP and community nursing service. The care they can give is guided by the national action plan for palliative and end of life care:
How do I get help?
If you need help to look after yourself, or a relative or friend needs help, you should discuss this with the district nurse who will contact your local social work office.
If you are in hospital or attending a clinic, you can ask nursing staff to speak to the social workers based there.