Accessing palliative care
Palliative care is for people of all ages and at all stages of illness.
Most services, such as hospice care, require a referral from a healthcare professional – which could be your GP, or someone from the team at your specialist PH centre.
A few services may allow you to self-refer, but they will still want to talk to your doctor to ensure that this is the right type of service for you.
Talking to your PH specialist about palliative care
Do not be afraid to ask your specialist nurse or doctor about what palliative care might be available to you.
It doesn’t matter where you are on your journey with PH. In fact, bringing up the topic at the point of diagnosis may be the best time to do it.
Remember, if palliative care has not been discussed with you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t benefit from it. Recent research showed that for many healthcare professionals, the fear of receiving negative reactions from patients when discussing palliative care sometimes formed a barrier to discussing the topic earlier.
The same research also showed that healthcare professionals would welcome more patients instigating these types of conversations.
So, letting them know you want to discuss palliative care can be the catalyst for receiving this supportive care.
Perhaps you could take this booklet along to your next consultation? Your team will also be happy to answer any questions via telephone or email.
Your specialist team will always do their best to help you access the right kind of careDr Iain Armstrong, Chair, PHA UK
Accessing hospice care
Although some services may accept ‘self-referrals’, most hospices require patients to be referred by a GP, clinical nurse specialist, or other medical professional.
If you think you may benefit from hospice services, and it has not been mentioned by your PH team, please do not be afraid to bring it up.
They will be very happy to help to facilitate access to these services in your local area.