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Palliative Care Team

Palliative care is the active total care of patients and their families whose disease is not curable.

The Palliative Care team is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, but try to be as flexible as possible. Contact the team on 01473 704932 or via the switchboard on 01473 712233 (and ask for pager number 610).

The goal of palliative care is to achieve the best quality of life for patients and their families. General palliative care is the responsibility of all healthcare professionals and involves the recognition and treatment of common symptoms towards the end of life, such as pain and breathlessness. Sometimes however it is recognised that more complex care is required and at this point specialist palliative care services may be required.

What our service does
The aim of the Ipswich Hospital Specialist Palliative Care Team is to provide the best possible palliative care service to meet the complex needs of our patients. It is a hospital-based, specialist, advisory service, which works in conjunction with the referring medical team but does not take over the patient's care completely. We see patients from any department in the hospital and offer both inpatient and outpatient care. The service is located in the Oncology and Haematology Department but is a hospital-wide service seeing any patient with any incurable disease.

What we can offer inpatients
The team works in conjunction with the patient's own medical team and can be involved at any stage in the patient's illness from the time of diagnosis onwards. Involvement is targeted at patient and family centred care, concentrating on working with the patient to achieve the very best quality of life and to support them and their family.
In particular the team provides advice and assistance in

  • pain control;
  • symptom control such as sickness, constipation and poor appetite;
  • psychological support for patients and families/carers;
  • end of life care;
  • future care planning; and
  • advice and support for healthcare professionals caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses.

Coping with an illness that is not curable is a traumatic and disturbing time for patient and family alike. It is sometimes easier to cope with this situation if you have someone outside of your immediate family to talk to. You may have questions that the team can help you with.

What we can offer outpatients
The Specialist Palliative Care Outpatient Clinic is held every Wednesday morning in the Oncology and Haematology Outpatient Department in the Woolverstone Wing.
Referrals to this clinic can be made by the consultant in charge of the patient's care. Patients are asked to bring with them any medication they are currently taking, in the containers they were originally dispensed in. Anyone requiring an ambulance for transport should contact the department to arrange it.

What we can offer staff
The team also provides education and training, research and audit. We are involved in hospital-wide initiatives drawn from national guidance, including the use of individualised care plans at the end of life, and Advanced Care planning.

The team
The Palliative Care Service is a multidisciplinary team made up of specialist Palliative Medicine consultants and Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialists, with support from other allied health professionals across the Trust including chaplains, occupational therapists and discharge planning teams.

Members of staff in the hospital can contact the team on behalf of patients, or patients can contact the team directly. Staff from the team will visit inpatients with consent from the treating hospital medical team and outpatients as and when requested.

Related documents and links to further information