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Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is an approach that aims to improve the quality of life for patients who are living with any life-limiting illness, as well as their carers and those close to them.

It is not just for people who are nearing the end of their life or for people whose illness cannot be cured. Some palliative care services can also advise patients with complex problems whose illness is likely to be cured.

In conjunction with your hospital consultant and G.P. the aim of ‘the palliative care team’ is to:

• control pain and other symptoms

• help you, your family and carers cope with the emotional upset caused by your illness

• provide advice about practical problems relating to your illness, including financial issues

• help you to deal with any spiritual questions which may arise from your illness

• support you to discuss and communicate any preferences you may have for your care

• support family members and carers through bereavement

Palliative Care Team
In addition to your hospital consultant, G.P. and hospital staff, these are some of the professionals who may be involved in your care.

Palliative Care Nurses
They work alongside your doctors and other health professionals in the community and in the hospitals. Their role is to provide advice on pain management and other distressing symptoms; provide support and information to patients and their carers at the time of a diagnosis of cancer and throughout the various stages of treatment; provide support information and care for individuals suffering from other life limiting conditions; advise on end of life care and offer bereavement support.

Breast Care Nurse
The nurse can provide information, advice and support to people with primary and advanced breast cancer. In addition her role includes the care andmanagement of lymphoedema.

Clinical Psychology & Counselling Department
They can help you and/or your family members who want support with emotional issues arising as a result of your condition.

Dietitian
They give dietary and nutritional advice to people with life limiting illness. They aim to optimise the nutritional status of those who are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition as a result of their illness or the treatment, they are receiving. There is evidence that if you are in a good nutritional state before you start treatment (chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery) you might not develop, as many side effects from treatment and recovery may be quicker.

District Nursing Team
They will visit you at home to help with specific nursing needs when you are housebound due either to your condition or to the treatment you are receiving.

Hospice at Home
This service is provided by the Gibraltar Society for Cancer Relief and isfor cancer patients only. It enables patients who wish to remain at homeduring the last few days of life to receive nursing care in partnership with GHA’s community services. Other services provided by this society e.g. daycare centre, complimentary therapy and bereavement care may be available.

Occupational Therapy
OT’s aim is to help you maintain function, safety and independence in your everyday tasks eg bathing, cooking. They will assess and advise on use ofequipment such as bathing aids, wheelchairs, dressing aids. They can assess for possible adaptations to your home or workplace to suit your needs; aswell as teach you techniques to help you conserve energy and manage stress.

Physiotherapy
They can help with strengthening weak muscles, stretching and moving stiff joints, whilst advising on appropriate walking aids and improving mobility. Exercise programmes to combat fatigue; teaching techniques to reduce breathlessness and management of lymphoedema are also provided.

Speech and Language Therapy (SLT)
They will assess and treat communication and swallowing difficulties, advising on swallowing and communication ability, whilst developing strategies to aid your communication. They also advise on methods of safe eating and drinking and promote positive feeding and communication experiences.

How to access these services
Referrals to the above services can be made through your hospital consultant; G.P; palliative care nurse or any health care professional already involved in your care.
Working Hours: Mon – Fri 09:00 – 17:00