Hospice Care

Hospice care forms an integral part of the palliative care service. Below is an overview of what hospice care is, how to access their services and links to the major hospice care providers in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Norma O’Leary, Consultant Palliative Medicine, Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services

A hospice is a place of care where specialist palliative care is provided.

It can be a standalone medical facility or it may be located within an acute hospital.

The care is provided by a team of specially trained doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and others that have expertise in palliative care.

Patients may be referred to the hospice for in-patient care for many reasons; management of complex pain or other troublesome symptoms, rehabilitation, respite or care at the end of life.

The general ambience of a hospice is different to that of a hospital. The calm physical environment, together with creative and complementary therapies, supports not only physical healing but also mental wellbeing. The care that is provided is whole person care. Family and friends are supported and overnight accommodation may be provided for them when needed.

Most hospices act as the hub for specialist community services in the area. This means that the community homecare team who visit people at home are based from the hospice. Day care may also be provided. This is care for people who are living at home but come into the hospice for one day per week for individualised care and support.

The hospice inpatient team works very closely with the community and day hospice teams. This ensures continuity of care for patients, palliative care support being available whenever and wherever the patient may be.

A Directory of Palliative Care Services can be found on the Irish Association of Palliative Care website: www.iapc.ie/iapc-directory.php  

Perceptions of Hospice

This video aims to show the benefits of hospice care, using Milford Care Centre as a case study. It draws on the experiences of four patients who tell their stories through the use of an interview.

Northern Ireland


Republic of Ireland

Specialist Palliative Care Eligibility Criteria and Referral Form - RoI

Specialist palliative care (SPC) services have an important role in supporting other healthcare providers in hospital, residential care and community settings to meet the palliative care needs of persons with life-limiting conditions and their families. When a person’s palliative care needs are anticipated to become, or are more complex and difficult to manage, access to SPC services is required. The National Clinical Programme for Palliative Care website includes guidance for health and social care professionals on the eligibility criteria and referral  into specialist palliative care, which may be of interest to people with palliative care needs and their carers. Please note that referrals to specialist palliative care can only be made by healthcare professionals

Link to form: Specialist Palliative Care Eligibility Criteria and Referral Form