Palliative Care Team
The Community Palliative Care Team is a group of specialist professionals who work alongside the primary health care team to provide support, information, advice and care to patients with a wide range of illnesses. It is available in people’s own homes and works in partnership with the primary health care providers i.e. General Practitioner (GP), Nurses, Allied Health Professionals (AHP’s) e.g. Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Dietitians, GP’s, District Nurses and other community professionals.
GP Macmillan Facilitator
The GP facilitators support and inform GP’s about new developments within the area of cancer and palliative care. They also represent the views and opinions of GP’s at meetings with the Regional Health Authority and other specialist palliative care providers.
Consultant(s) in Palliative Medicine
The consultant in palliative medicine is a doctor with specialist training in symptom control and end of life issues. They work alongside other healthcare professionals in hospital and the community. Their role is to assess patients with advanced disease, to improve management of their symptoms and provide support to them and their carer’s.
Educational Nurse Facilitators
The educational nurse facilitators are responsible for education and practice development within the area of palliative care; also they provide ongoing support and advice to primary health care teams and nursing homes within the trust.
Specialist Palliative Care Physiotherapist
The physiotherapist can help you move around and stay as active and independent as possible. This may involve providing you with advice, a suitable walking aid or a gentle exercise programme to strengthen your muscles. Physiotherapist can also help you to manage shortness of breath or tiredness and can provide treatments to help with pain and swelling.
The physiotherapist will work closely with you, your family and others involved in your care to help you maintain your comfort, independence and best possible quality of life.
Specialist Palliative Care Occupational Therapist
The occupational therapist will look at the activities you do on a daily basis and find ways to help you continue with those which are important to you. This may involve giving advice, teaching you alternative ways to do things, providing you with equipment or modifying your home. Occupational therapists can also help you to manage shortness of breath or tiredness and can work closely with you and your family to maintain your independence and best quality of life.
Specialist Palliative Care Dietitian
Dietitians play an important role in managing dietary problems. These may have been caused by your illness or treatment. The Dietitian will help you deal with any concerns you may have about your diet. You can ask any of your healthcare team, including your GP or district nurse about referring you for an assessment.
Specialist Palliative Care Social Worker
The social worker in the Palliative Care team aims to help the patient, family and carers to access practical, financial and emotional support. He/she has specialist training in counselling and will also provide advice and information according to your individual requirements.
The social worker’s role includes:
- Providing emotional support to the patient with palliative care needs to carers and family
- Assessing carers’ needs and supporting them to make sure that their needs are considered
- Arranging advice about finance (e.g. referral to Citizen’s Advice Bureau regarding benefits)
- Giving you information about support services in your local area
- Helping parents to talk with and support their children when a close family member has a palliative care diagnosis
- Bereavement support (individual and group support)
Your hospital team, GP or district nurse can refer you to specialist social worker.
Specialist Palliative Care Speech and Language Therapist
The speech and language therapist will help you and your family to manage any difficulties you may have with communication or swallowing and to maintain as much ease and independence in these areas as possible.
To help with communication, the speech and language therapist may provide you with exercises, advice about alternative ways of communicating, or a piece of equipment that will aid the expression of your message.
To help with swallowing, the speech and language therapist may advise about techniques and consistencies of food and drink that will promote your comfort, safety and independence in eating and drinking.
Cancer Focus NI Counsellor
The Cancer Focus Counsellor works as part of the hospital and community Palliative Care Teams. The counsellor provides psychological and emotional support to patients and their families or carers whose lives have been affected by cancer. This service will also extend to Trust staff involved in patient care.
Health care professionals can advise you how to contact the counsellor from Monday to Friday: 9.00am – 5.00pm (Excluding bank holidays)
Northern Ireland Hospice Community Nursing
Community Specialist Palliative Care nursing support is provided by the Northern Ireland Hospice Nurse Specialist Team. They complement the care provided by the GP and District Nurse by providing specialist advice and support to try to enable patients to remain in their preferred place of care whilst supporting the patients’ families.
This service can be accessed via the GP, District Nurse or any healthcare professional or Tel: (028) 9078 1836
- The Northern Ireland Hospice also offers other services such as Day Hospital, Hospice at Home and Carer Support: www.nihospicecare.com
- Marie Curie Nursing Service: www.mariecurie.org.uk/en-gb/who-we-are/services/marie-curie-services-northern-ireland/