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Palliative and end of life care

Palliative care aims to achieve the best quality of life for all those patients and families affected by a life threatening illness. End of life care is an important part of palliative care, and usually refers to the care of a person during the last phase of their life.

What is palliative care and who is it for?

Palliative care aims to achieve the best quality of life for all those patients and families affected by a life threatening illness.  Palliative care aims to control pain and other symptoms and to provide support to patients and families according to personal needs. 

End of life care is an important part of palliative care, and usually refers to the care of a person during the last phase of their life.

What does the service do?

Palliative care:

  • Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms.
  • Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care.
  • Offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death.
  • Offers a support system to help the family cope during the patient's illness and in their own bereavement.
  • Uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families.
  • Affirms life and regards dying as a normal process.
  • Intends neither to hasten or postpone death.
  • Is relevant all through the course of an illness, in combination with many other treatments that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, medication or renal replacement therapy.

Where are patients seen and who provides it?

Palliative care is part of the care delivered by a wide range of health and social care professionals and volunteers working in the community, care homes and hospitals and hospices. Most people will be cared for by their GP, community nurses, sometimes with support from hospital doctors and nurses.  Some patients with more complex problems may be referred for advice or care from a palliative care specialist. 

Several hospices in the area provide both community specialist nurses to support people at home as well as day services and inpatient beds.

Out-of-hours GP support

If you are being supported at home, and you need to access GP support urgently at night or at the weekend, you can call Harmoni, the local GP OOHs service on 0300 130 1313

Virtual Wards

People living in West Sussex can now be cared for by nurses and therapists working together as integrated community teams known as‘virtual wards’.

Linking closely and liaising directly with GPs and West Sussex County Council Adult Services (social services), the community wards provide care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The virtual wards provide direct nursing care to patients as well as organising equipment and arranging night sitters where necessary.  If patients do require hospital treatment the community wards can ensure that they return home quickly following their stay. The patient and their relatives have a named nurse to contact who can provide ongoing support and advice.

Specialist Palliative Care Services in the Community

Midhurst Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Service, Midhurst and surrounding area

Tel: 01730 811 121

The Midhurst Macmillan Service provides advice, support and care to patients and families affected by any life threatening illness. The service is provided for people living in the community, in their own home, a care home or community hospital. Our central base is at the Pearson Unit, by the Midhurst Community Hospital. Whilst some patients may visit us at the Unit for part of their care, we have no in-patient beds at this site.  Further information is available through the patient information leaflet. 

St.Barnabas Hospice, Worthing and surrounding area
Columbia Drive, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 2QF
Telephone: 01903 534030
Fax: 01903 524138

Services provided by St.Barnabas include an 18 bed inpatient ward, a community specialist team, a day hospice service, a family services team and an education department.

For more information: www.stbarnabas-hospice.org.uk

St.Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley and surrounding area
Malthouse Road, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 6BH
Telephone: 01293 447333

Services provided by St.Catherine’s Hospice include 14 inpatient beds, a Community Team working 7 days/week, day services and outpatient services.

For more information: www.stch.org.uk

St Peter & St James Hospice & Continuing Care Centre, Mid Sussex Area
North Common Road, North Chailey, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 4ED
Main switchboard: 01444 471598

Services provided at the hospice include inpatient beds, specialist community nursing and day hospice services.

For more information: www.stpeter-stjames.org.uk

St Wilfrid’s Hospice, Chichester and surrounding area
Grosvenor Road, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8FP
Telephone: 01243 775302
Fax: 01243 538171

Services provided include inpatient beds, a specialist community team, day hospice services as well as a hospice at home service

For more information: www.stwh.co.uk

Hospital Palliative Care services

All local hospital Trusts employ specialist palliative care staff to care for their patients.  Please follow links below to the hospital websites.

Brightonand Sussex Universities Hospitals NHS Trust

Surreyand Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust www.surreyandsussex.nhs.uk

Western Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust www.westernsussexhospitals.nhs.uk

Bereavement services

All the above health services and your GP are able to advise you for bereavement counselling should you feel you need extra support.  You may also find the below contact useful. 

www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk.  Cruse Bereavement Care is a national charity which exists to promote the well-being of bereaved people and to enable anyone bereaved by death to understand their grief and cope with their loss.

How can I access these services?

Patients will normally be referred to specialist palliative care services either by their GP, a Community Nurse or by a hospital doctor or nurse. 

Patients should refer back to their GP in the first instance if they have any concerns about their symptoms or the services they are receiving.  For urgent support outside of GP surgery opening hours please contact Harmoni, the local Out of Hours GP provider on 0300 130 1313.