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Palliative Care

What is end of life care?

The term 'end of life care' refers to the care people receive in the last days or few weeks of life.  End of life care looks at the physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of care and will be adapted to a person's needs.

Who provides end of life care?

A number of health and social care professionals may be involved in the care being given at end of life depending on the person's needs. Examples may include hospital doctors and nurses, GP, community nurses, counsellors, chaplains (of all faiths or none), social workers, occupational therapists and complementary therapists.

Support

If you have a life-limiting condition or are caring for someone who does and you would like more information about the support available locally, please contact your GP, specialist nurse (if you have one) or any of the healthcare professionals involved in your care.

Planning ahead

If you have a life-limiting illness, or are approaching the end of your life, you may wish to make plans for your future care. Planning ahead can help you receive the care that you would like. This information could also be helpful to your family and friends.

What is an advance statement?

An advance statement is a written statement that sets down your preferences, wishes, beliefs and values regarding your future care. An advance statement is not legally binding, but anyone who is making decisions about your care must take it into account.

Examples of preferences could include wishes regarding preferred place of care, wishes regarding tissue donation, wishes regarding spiritual care and personal likes and/or dislikes.

What is an advance decision (living will)?

An advance decision (sometimes known as an advance decision to refuse treatment, an ADRT, or a living will) is a decision you can make now to refuse a specific type of treatment at some time in the future.

What does lasting power of attorney mean?

If you become unable to make decisions for yourself in the future, someone will need to make decisions for you. Generally, professionals will make decisions about your health and social care, and your family or carers will decide on day-to-day matters. If you wish, you can officially appoint someone you trust to make decisions for you. This is called making a lasting power of attorney (LPA).

Advice is available out-of-hours and at weekends through the Douglas Macmillan Hospice Advice Line for individuals with palliative care needs in Staffordshire.  

This service is available on 01782 344 300​

Each caring role is different.  Becoming a carer can happen gradually or very suddenly, lasting for a short time or for a few years. You might care for someone two or three hours a week or they might need you all the time. Many carers simply see themselves as a supportive partner, son, daughter or friend.  Caring for someone with a life limiting condition can affect people's own health, mental wellbeing, working life and relationships. Lack of support can lead to an increased need for health and social care services, for the carer and the person they're caring for. 

To read more about the support services and networks available to support you, click on the links below: 

British Heart Foundation: Caring for a heart 

Marie Curie: The role of a carer​

Alzheimer's Society: Dementia guide support for carers  

Macmillan: Young people caring for someone with cancer

Katharine House Hospice: Carers support group

Macmillan: Supporting Carers

North Staffordshire Carers Association: Putting carers first​

Motor neurone disease association: Getting help​

​​Support for abereaved child or young person

Cruse bereavement support​

Bereavement advicecentre: practical advice 

 

Open visiting for relatives and close friends​

Open visiting can be authorised by the Nurse in Charge. This allows relatives and close friends to visit hospital inpatients more freely.  Open visiting is often permitted for individuals who have a life-limiting diagnosis with a deteriorating condition, a short life expectancy and/or for those who are struggling to visit at specific times due to other commitments. 

Please note that healthcare professionals may request you leave the bedside for short periods of time to carry out care. 

Car Parking

An 'exemption from car parking charges' permit may be provided to individuals with a  life limiting condition or their next of kin who are visiting the hospital frequently. If you would like further information about this please speak with a member of staff.

Other links

Disability Solutions West Midlands

Staffordshire and Wolverhampton Cancer Advocacy and Support Project- for people aged 50+​

AgeUK: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender -  Planning for later life

Let's talk about death and dying: How to have difficult conversations​

Do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR): An easy to read guide​

Supporting pe​ople with disabilities coping with grief and loss: Easy to read bo​oklet​ ​

Visits are normally made between 09:00 – 17:00 Monday to Friday

(An emergency service is available on Saturdays and Sundays)

All messages/enquiries can be left for Royal Stoke and County Hospital sites on:

01782 674029 (24 hour answer phone)

You can write to us at:

Hospital Palliative Care Team C/O Outpatients 3

Royal Stoke University Hospital

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust

Stoke-on-Trent ST4 6QG

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of people (including carers) affected by serious illness, by paying attention to physical, psychological, social and spiritual concerns.

We aim

  • To help to improve the quality of your life by managing troublesome symptoms for example, pain or sickness
  • To help maintain your independence and dignity
  • To give opportunities, if desired, for you and your family to talk through feelings and issues arising from your illness

Who we are

The University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust Hospital Palliative Care Team consists of Doctors and Nurses who have undertaken specialist training within palliative care. We support the team of Doctors and Nurses who are caring for you while you are in hospital and see patients with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

How we can help

When your Doctor or Nurse has referred you to the Hospital Palliative Care Team we will visit you and assess your needs. We will then recommend any changes to medication, treatment options that may be appropriate and other actions which aim to make you more comfortable and help improve the quality of your life.

After assessing your needs we can also refer you to other healthcare professionals, for example Occupational Therapists, Discharge Liaison Nurses or Chaplains etc. We meet with them every week to talk about the needs of any new patients. If you would like a written summary of this meeting or any other important discussions you have had with our team, please talk to your Palliative Care Nurse.

The Hospital Specialist Palliative Care Team will at times use medications for conditions or in ways that are not specified on the licence. Your Specialist Palliative Care Nurse or Doctor will only use medicines beyond licence when there is research and experience to back up such use.

Who to contact

The Doctors and Nurses on your ward will remain responsible for your care and will be your main point of contact. After our initial assessment you will be given the contact details of the Palliative Care Nurse who will be the key contact for you, your family and the ward team, in relation to your palliative care while you are in hospital. However, The Hospital Palliative Care Team all work closely together and you may see other members of the team.

Caring for you at home

With your agreement, community Palliative Care Nurses can support you when you leave hospital. They will work closely with your GP and other health professionals, such as District Nurses who may visit you at home to help you plan your future care. Please speak to your Nurse if you would like to be referred.

Improving our service

We are always looking for ways in which to improve our service. If you would like to help us to improve our service or have any comments, please write to us at the address overleaf or speak to your Palliative Care Nurse or a member of the ward staff.

Tissue Donation

Tissue donation gives many patients and families the option of making a difference to others and is entirely voluntary. If you would like some information on tissue donation or to discuss this further your Specialist Palliative Care Nurse will be able to arrange this for you.