GHA Specialist Palliative Care Team – Every Moment Matters
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care means the treatment, care and support of people with a life-limiting illness, and their family and friends. Palliative care is available at any point during a life limiting illness, not just when patients are nearing the end of their life. Palliative Care is for all life-limiting conditions, not just cancer.
The aim of palliative care is to help you to have a good quality of life – this means living as fully as possible in the time you have left and staying as well and active as possible. Every moment matters.
This can involve:
• Managing physical symptoms such as pain, nausea and others.
• Emotional, spiritual and psychological support for yourself and your family.
• Organising social care, including help with things like washing, dressing or eating
• Support for your family and friends.
• Support for you to discuss and communicate any preferences you may have for your care.
• Co-ordinating your care between different professionals and centres.
You can receive palliative care at any stage in your illness. Having palliative care doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re likely to die soon – some people receive palliative care for years. You can also have palliative care alongside treatments, therapies and medicines aimed at controlling your illness, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
However, palliative care also includes caring for people who are nearing the end of life – this is sometimes called End of Life care.
Palliative and End of Life Care are not just the responsibility of specialist nurses and teams, everyone should be able to care for a loved one as they reach the end of their lives, including all nurses and health care support workers in all settings, the patient’s family as well as members of the community.
Palliative care is provided at two distinct levels of care:
• those responsible for delivering the day-to-day care of patients
• those who specialise in palliative care
The GHA Specialist Palliative Care Team comprises of Palliative Care Nurse Specialists as well as a part time GPwSI (GP with special interest in Palliative Care).
The team aims to provide advice and support to patients, family, friends and carers. They also provide advice and liaise directly with your consultant, hospital staff, your GP and other professionals involved your care such as the District Nurses and other Allied health professionals.
The Multidisciplinary team, which makes up the extended palliative care team and have advanced palliative care skills, consists of:
• Cancer Relief Hospice Outreach Team
• District Nursing Team
• Occupational Therapists
• Hospital and Community Social Workers.
• Speech and Language Therapists.
The Specialist Palliative care team believe that no matter what the reason, everyone has the right to be cared for with dignity and respect especially as they approach the end of their lives.
What is End of Life Care?
End of life care involves treatment, care and support for people who are nearing the last months of their life. The term ‘end of life’ usually refers to the last year of life, although for some people this will be significantly shorter. The term Palliative Care is often used interchangeably with End of Life care. However, palliative care largely relates to symptom management throughout, rather than actual end of life care.
Just like palliative care, end of life care aims to help you to live as comfortably as possible in the time you have left. It involves managing physical symptoms and getting emotional support for you and your family and friends. You might need more of this type of care towards the end of your life. End of life care should help you to live as well as possible until you die and to die with dignity.
End of life care also involves talking to you and your family and friends about what to expect towards the end of your life. The people looking after you will talk to you about your needs and wishes, and make sure they consider what you want in the care they provide.
Cancer Relief Hospice Outreach Service (HOS)
This service is provided by Cancer Relief and is generally for cancer patients only, although in some circumstances they support patients with non-cancer illnesses. The service supports the wider GHA community team with palliative patients and also those receiving end of life care, who wish to stay at home. Other services provided by Cancer Relief are Day support, complimentary therapy, Head Smart, Pampering, counselling and bereavement care.
Please see their website for more information
http://www.cancerrelief.gi/ or call tel:20042392
Common myths about palliative care
Palliative care is often misunderstood and some people believe things about it that aren’t true.
MYTH: If I have palliative care it means my doctors have given up and I’ll no longer receive active treatment for my illness
FACT: You can receive palliative care alongside treatments for your illness, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
MYTH: Having palliative care means I’m going to die soon
FACT: You can receive palliative care at any point in your illness. Some people receive palliative care for years, while others will receive care in their last weeks or days.
MYTH: If I have palliative care I’ll no longer be seen by other specialists who know about my particular disease
FACT: You can receive palliative care alongside care from the specialists who have been treating your particular illness.
MYTH: Palliative care is just about treating pain and other physical symptoms
FACT: Palliative care aims to provide a holistic approach to give you the best quality of life possible. This means caring for all your physical, emotional, psychological, social and other needs.
MYTH: Palliative care isn’t for family and friends
FACT: Palliative care teams are aware that your illness may have a big impact on your family members and friends. Palliative care teams do what they can to help people cope.
How to Access these Services?
If you feel you would benefit from a referral to any of these services, please ask your GP or any other healthcare professional involved in your care to refer you. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on: [email protected] Our working hours are Monday-Friday 9am to 5pm.