Information for Professionals

How do I get involved in working for hospice at home?

All hospice at home organisations differ in how they operate. Most of them will have a lead manager and or a co-ordinator who could be the first person to contact. You may find it useful to investigate what hospice provision there is locally and check if they have a dedicated hospice at home team.

What skills are required to work in hospice at home?

To work in hospice at home you will need to have a genuine interest in caring for patients who have a life limiting illness. You would also have to demonstrate an understanding of the philosophy, aims and objectives that underpin caring for individuals in their own home. The focus is to include, involve and support patients and their families with key decisions about their care.

Do you have to be a qualified nurse to work in hospice at home?

Hospice at home services are based in a variety of locations. Whether the service works from a hospice building or exclusively in the community all nursing posts will require a registered nursing qualification. Some organisations also require additional specialist qualifications or proven experience. Some hospice at home services may provide elements of social care and if this is the case they may also employ Health Care Assistants. While each organisation will differ slightly in how they operate, most will require a set of core competencies for all members of staff. 

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 consent. Some Services will accept a referral from the patient him/herself.

How will I be kept informed?

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 interest of patient care all professionals need to be as informed as possible at all times.

How will patients care be managed?

Services should work collaboratively to provide care. It is widely accepted that the district nurse continues to be the key worker while involved in the patients care - this is in line with national policy. When this is not the case the clinician having most contact is the person responsible for managing and co-ordinating care.

How long can hospice at home be involved?

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 between a few days to several weeks.