Patients & Visitors

Palliative Care

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What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is the treatment of life threatening conditions when a cure is not possible, but the emphasis is on the best quality of life. Control of pain and other physical symptoms is a high priority, as well as psychological, spiritual and social support for the person with the condition and their families and carers.

Who provides palliative care support?

For people at home, or in a residential or nursing home, their overall care is overseen by the GP and other staff in the Primary Health Care Team. For instance the district nurse may be involved in supporting and advising patients, families and staff caring for them.

For people in hospital, it is the responsibility of the ward staff to provide the day to day support and care of the patient.

Wherever the person is, the staff will work with other people to ensure that all aspects of the care are covered. For example social services, oncologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, district nurses, pain teams, pharmacists and specialist palliative care services are all available if needed to help.

What is a Macmillan nurse?
A charity called Macmillan Cancer Relief (now renamed Macmillan Cancer Support) set up Macmillan posts originally to support people with cancer. Many of the nurses keep the name Macmillan as recognition of this.

In specialist palliative care services or teams, a Macmillan nurse is another name for a palliative care nurse specialist. However, support is not restricted to people with cancer, but with any life threatening disease.

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End of Life Care

End of life care enables people with life threatening illnesses to be supported towards the end of their lives. It helps with planning ahead and assisting people to decide where they wish to be cared for. More information is available:

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