Specialist palliative care
Specialist palliative care professionals comprise medical, nursing and allied health care professionals, who have recognised qualifications or accreditation in palliative care and whose substantive work is with specialist, interdisciplinary palliative care services. Palliative care professionals have specialist knowledge, skills and expertise in care of people living with a life limiting illness, and their families and carers, who have health care needs which require complex care, including management of symptoms, loss, grief and bereavement.
Complex care may be required at any stage of patients’ illness, or phase of care, i.e. stable, unstable, deteriorating, terminal or bereaved. Specialist palliative care is provided as coordinated care through direct care, shared care or consultation and advice, which may be on-going or episodic.
Clinical assessment tools provide referral thresholds indicating when a patient may be admitted to or discharged from specialist palliative care and/or referred for specialist palliative care consultancy or advice.
Referral to specialist palliative care
- Referral can be made by patients’ doctors (GPs) or other health professionals.
- GPs and health professionals making a referral must use relevant Service Coordination Tools and Templates (SCTT) referral tools. Referral may be made through Connecting Care, a comprehensive web-based directory providing secure messaging and e-referral.
- Patients may also self-refer, or family, carers or clergy may also make a referral.
- Patients, or their legal representative, must provide consent to being referred to palliative care.