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Palliative and end of life care

What the service does
Who provides the service

What the service does

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:

    • GPs
    • 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

    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.


Who provides the service

Palliative care takes a holistic approach to care, with input from:

  • physicians
  • nurses
  • pharmacists
  • social workers
  • chaplains
  • 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:

  • pain
  • nausea
  • 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:

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.

Locations where this service is delivered

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