Palliative and end of life care
The palliative care service provides a full care package for patients with advanced, progressive illness. We improve patients’ quality of life by managing their:
- physical symptoms
- psychological issues
- spiritual issues
- social issues
Palliative medicine outpatients clinic
Patients can get an appointment with a palliative medicine doctor in an outpatient setting – either a hospital or local hospice.
This appointment will either be a follow-up to a stay in hospital or the result of a referral from a consultant or GP.
Specialist palliative care units / hospices
Sometimes patients will need admitted to a specialist palliative care unit. These units accept referrals from:
- community palliative care nurses
- hospital palliative care teams
There are two specialist palliative care units in the Belfast area:
- Northern Ireland Hospice
- Marie Curie Hospice
Day hospices provide a range of services focused on the needs of each individual patient. They also offer access to the community oncology and palliative care service.
Palliative care takes a holistic approach to care, with input from:
- social workers
- other allied health professionals
Hospital Supportive and Specialist Palliative Care Team
This is a team of hospital consultants, clinical nurse specialists and pharmacists who specialise in palliative care. They offer advice on complex symptoms such as:
- breathing difficulties
The Hospital Supportive and Specialist Palliative Care Team also provides important information about:
- each patient’s illness
- how to access help and ongoing support
The team sees patients at any stage of their illness, from diagnosis onwards. They work alongside staff on the wards and provide a consultation service from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
The team accepts referrals from any healthcare professionals. Telephone referrals are made according to where the patient is based:
- Belfast City Hospital team: 028 9504 100
- Royal Victoria Hospital team: 028 9063 4409
- Mater Hospital team: 028 9504 7287
Key workers in the community
GPs, district nurses and community palliative care nurses are the key workers in the community. They work alongside our community oncology and palliative care service to support patients who have complex needs and live at home, including nursing or residential homes.
Referrals for community specialist palliative care can be made by clinical professionals using the Northern Ireland Hospice referral form.