Palliative care services provide expert help to people coping with the symptoms and side effects of cancer (including pain). They concentrate on helping improve the wellbeing and quality of life for people with cancer. These services are provided by specialist palliative care professionals, including doctors and nurses, either in hospitals, hospices or the patient’s own home.
It isn't always realised that people with cancer can benefit from palliative care services from diagnosis onwards. Some palliative care services are provided by the NHS, some by charities, or a combination of both. For more information on palliative care services please visit our main Palliative care section.
The majority of hospitals have a Hospital Palliative Care Team. The team provide an advisory service providing specialist assessment and advice on the management of a range of issues that people with cancer, their relatives, and carers may face. These can include easing physical symptoms, helping people come to term with bad news, talking through treatment options, and helping you and your family plan future care.
Hospices provide palliative care services for people with cancer who need more intensive periods of assessment or care, and for when their families need a break. A person with cancer may be admitted as as inpatient, but there are also day hospices where they just go for the day.
Some hospices provide ‘hospice at home’ services. Hospice care can be a very important part of care when someone is dying, whether they choose to die at home or in a hospice. Other services such as befriending and counselling may be provided by a hospice, as well as complementary therapies such as reflexology, massage, etc. Hospice care services are provided by the NHS or by charities. Charity funded hospices may have a percentage of funding from the NHS.
You can find more informaiton about hospices in our main palliative care section.