How to access care

Who can refer patients or families for care?

Services will generally accept a referral from any professional involved with a patient diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. It is important however, that the patient is aware of the referral and gives their consent.

How will I know what is happening?

Organisations communicate closely with all professionals involved in the care of the patient. Communication maybe via a variety of mediums including by telephone, email or text, meeting or in writing. In the best interests of patient care all professionals need to be as informed as possible at all times.

How will the patients care be managed?

Services should work collaboratively to provide care. In most circumstances the district nurse (sometimes known as an Integrated Community nursing service) will continue to be the key worker while involved in the patient's care – this is in line with national policy. When this is not the case, the clinician having most contact is likely to be the person responsible for managing and co-ordinating care.

How long will you get help for?

Each patient has individual needs and care is normally planned and reviewed in a timely way. Some services will provide care for longer episodes than others - you may need to establish this at the time of referral. Many services adapt to the fluctuating needs of patients and their families and could be involved for a few days or up to several weeks, enabling support to be accessed as and when needed. The majority of services providing hospice at home have access to counselling services for pre and post bereavement support for patients and those who love them.

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