If the person you care for has a long-term, life-limiting illness, then they are eligible for palliative care, also known as end-of-life care. Providers of palliative care work towards a holistic approach, with care encompassing more than just the medical aspects; including pain management, emotional and spiritual support, introducing you to social support groups and carer bereavement support.
Your family will be directed to these services through the healthcare professional, or GP, that is looking after your relative. They will also help you decide how your parent will want to receive the majority of their palliative care, whether it be in a hospice, hospital, or at home. You can find out more about End of Life Planning & Care in a more general sense on the AgeSpace website.
Continue reading for information on the palliative care services that are available in Norfolk, including:
NHS Palliative Care in Norfolk
NHS Norfolk has a Community Specialist Palliative Care Team that provide home visits and outpatient appointments following referrals for patients with complex palliative care needs. Patients will then have support and advice offered from a range of professionals within their multidisciplinary team, including:
- Specialist palliative care nurses
- Specialist palliative care doctors
- Occupational therapists
The team aims to complement the care and treatment provided by other healthcare professionals, such as GPs, community nurses and social care professionals.
Referrals to the service must be made by a health or social care professional, such as a GP, hospital team or community nurse. Each referral will be assessed by one of their specialist nurses, who will contact your elderly relative or a nominated carer or family member to conduct an initial telephone assessment.
This assessment is designed to identify and understand your relatives’ individual needs, with the aim of ensuring they receive the best possible, person-centred care. Following the assessment, if it is determined that the Community Specialist Palliative Care Service is not the most appropriate service for
their needs, they will be referred on to a different service to ensure they receive the most suitable care.
If your relative is deemed eligible for the service, they will receive the following support (based on individual needs):
- Telephone or video appointments
- Outpatient clinic appointments
- Home visits for those not well enough to travel
- Advice on managing pain and other distressing symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and breathlessness.
- Complex emotional, psychological and social support.
- Advance care planning, which is an opportunity to discuss future care preferences.
- Opportunity to talk about the effect any illnesses are having on the person and those close to them.
- Information about other services and help that may be available.
The team does not provide personal care but will offer information and advice to your relative and their primary healthcare team, liaising closely with others involved with their care, such as yourself.
For more details on the services involved, you can visit the NHS’ website or get in contact using the details below:
- Telephone: 0330 158 8011
- Address (Norwich): The Priscilla Bacon Centre for Specialist Palliative Care Services, Colman Hospital, Unthank Road, Norwich, NR2 2PJ
- Address (King's Lynn): The West Norfolk Community Specialist Palliative Care Team, The Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House, Wheatfields, Hillington, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE31 6BH
- Visit Website
An Advance Directive (or Advance Statement) is a written statement that lays out someone’s preferences and wishes about their future care. It can act as a guide to whomever might have to make decisions on their behalf if they become unable to communicate their wishes. It should not be confused with an Advance Decision – a legally binding document containing a list of treatments that someone wishes to refuse.
While an advance directive is not legally binding, it is usually taken into account when making decisions on someone’s treatment for them.
The Norfolk Hospice, King's Lynn
The Norfolk Hospice is a registered charity in West Norfolk, offering support, care and advice to patients over the age of 18, as well as their carers and families through all stages of their illness, including bereavement.
They provide a ‘Hospice at Home’ service, that supports those in the last weeks of life that wish to spend them at home. Using a holistic care approach, the hospice supports both patients and families, operating through the night to respond to any unplanned care needs.
They can also offer therapy services, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and complementary therapy. They use a range of approaches focussed on quality of life and symptom management groups include: breathlessness management, anxiety management, fatigue management and fitness.
Swaffham & Litcham Home Hospice Support
Swaffham & Litcham Home Hospice provides support for approximately 250 patients each year who have cancer or terminal illnesses. The Home Hospice provides support and reassurance for patients and their families, working closely with partners in the NHS.
Services are free and available to patients in Swaffham, Litcham and the surrounding areas. This comprehensive service is provided by eight part time staff and over fifty volunteers, all of whom are regularly provided with up to date, high-quality training to complement their existing skills.
Services include home support, ‘Home Companionship’ for patients, carers support, assistance with transport, an art and craft group, equipment loan, Headstart, an ‘Open Door Drop-In’ support group for people affected by cancer, complementary therapies such as Reflexology and Reiki, a bereavement group, bereavement support and counselling.
St. Elizabeth Hospice, Ipswich
Although based in Ipswich, Suffolk, St Elizabeth Hospice has taken responsibility for providing palliative care for those in the Great Yarmouth area of Norfolk as well. Their 18-bed inpatient units provide intensive, inpatient care on a short-term basis, with facilities for carers or family to stay overnight too. Community Nursing teams can deliver tailored palliative care to the home or in the community. Their Ipswich-based day care unit assesses your loved ones needs and work to allow them to stay at home for as long as possible. Across their service, they offer advice, therapies and group support to patients, families and carers.
St Elizabeth Hospice also operates a 24 hour advice and information line on 0800 567 0111.
Bereavement Support Services
When considering end-of-life care for a loved one, it is important that you also think about the support that you may need to help you through this difficult time. There are many services and support groups throughout Cambridgeshire set up to help anyone struggling with the loss of a loved one.
People cope differently with grief for a variety of reasons and there is no harm in doing everything you can to help you or members of your family get back to enjoying life after the death of someone close to you. Bereavement support might be more structured, like professional counselling, or more group support orientated like a walking group or coffee club.
Age Space has listed Bereavement Support Services in Norfolk here.