A hospital can often be the first place where people hear the term palliative care. Below an overview is provided of the role of hospitals in providing palliative care
Rory Wilkinson- Clinical Nurse Specialist in Palliative Care, St James Hospital
Most people who are admitted to an acute general hospital receive treatment for their illness and get better enough to go home. Unfortunately there are a small number of people who will not get better and this may impact on the quality and length of their life. The discovery that you or a loved one has an incurable life limiting illness is a very difficult and frightening time. Patients who have complex needs, around their illness, may be referred to the palliative care team. The palliative care team is there to treat the symptoms of the disease and provide psychological, social and spiritual support to you and your family.
Some palliative care teams work as a “referral service” only which means that your primary consultant has to invite them (in the first instance) to become involved in your or your loved ones care. Other palliative care teams are able to directly admit patients into a hospital and care for them. This will depend on what arrangements are in place in your hospital.
The palliative care team will also work with you, your family and other healthcare professional in the hospital to make out a plan for your future care. Palliative care can be provided in a variety of settings:
In reality you may move from setting to another according to your needs. The palliative care team will work to ensure a smooth transition from one setting to the other.
A directory of Palliative Care Services can be found on the Irish Association of Palliative Care website: www.iapc.ie/iapc-directory.php