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Palliative and End of Life Care

Updated 13 July 2021

Palliative care is holistic care that focuses on comfort and quality of life and is available to all patients with a life limiting or incurable condition. This approach to care may be given in tandem with active treatment and also at the end of life. Here at Dorset County Hospital, the Palliative and End of Life Care Team works with the nurses and doctors to provide care to patients, their families and those important to them. The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life through the management of pain and other symptoms and the provision of psychological, social and spiritual support.

As a team we take referrals from doctors, nurses and allied health professionals on the wards. Patients, families and carers can request our input by speaking to any health professional involved in their care.

We work closely with other services in the hospital such as the chaplaincy team. We are also supported by the Macmillan Therapies Team to facilitate discharge home, if that is the patient’s wish, with the appropriate supporting equipment/package of care to enable this.

We liaise with our colleagues in the community including district nursing teams, Weldmar Hospicecare Trust and community palliative care teams from outside the local area. This helps to provide continuity of care both at home and in hospital.

Following referral to the Hospital Palliative and End of Life Care Team and with the patient’s consent, we carry out a full assessment of need which allows us to provide individualised physical, psychological, social and spiritual support.  This can help to initiate conversations about what is important to patients and establishes goals for care and, where appropriate, end of life care.

As part of our service we support and advise health professionals with one to one teaching in the workplace as well as more formalised teaching sessions relating to palliative and end of life care.

Our team comprises of:

  • Consultant in Palliative Medicine
  • Specialist Doctor in Palliative Medicine
  • Clinical Lead Nurse End of Life Care
  • Macmillan End of Life Care Facilitator
  • Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialists

The team has introduced the Dorset Blue butterfly symbol.  This is used to help identify those individuals who are coming towards the end of life to ensure dignity, respect and compassion.