What is palliative care? The aim of palliative care is to provide a holistic approach to make the end of life as comfortable as possible for your loved one and your family. This not only includes managing pain but also providing emotional, social and spiritual support. The first step to accessing this care will often be through your local GP or doctor. Palliative care can be provided in your loved one’s home, or in a hospital or hospice.
This page aims to guide you to some of the palliative care services available in Suffolk. For more guidance and advice visit our End of Life Planning & Care page.
NHS Palliative Care in Suffolk
The first step in accessing palliative care is usually to talk to your loved one’s GP with them. If the doctor agrees that it is the right direction to be taking, they will explain to you the services that are available to them and help them choose an option that’s right for them. It may be that they would prefer to have their care delivered in their own home, or that they would be better suited to hospice care or a care home with end-of-life facilities. Hospital doctors or District Nurses are also able to refer people to hospices or palliative care services.
It may be that you would prefer to enquire about referral directly to the hospice. Suffolk has two hospices. If you live in East Suffolk, your nearest hospice is likely to be St. Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich. For West Suffolk it is likely to be St. Nicholas Hospice in Bury St. Edmunds. If you click on the hospice best suited to your loved one the link will take you to their self-referral section. More information on each hospice is provided in a following section on this page, Hospices in Suffolk.
In planning their care, the GP might enlist the help of many different services:
- Palliative Care Nursing – Marie Curie nurse
- Care assistants
- Community dietician, occupational therapist, physiotherapist
- Social worker
- Family support worker, benefits advisor
- St Elizabeth Hospice
- St Nicholas Hospice
West Suffolk Hospital also has an in-house Palliative Care Team. They are available to contact on 01284 713776.
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 able 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.
Hospices in Suffolk
St Nicholas Hospice, Bury St Edmunds
St Nicholas Hospice operates from two bases, their hospice in Bury St Edmunds and a local support hub in Haverhill. While most of their palliative and support care is provided in the community and homes through their community nurse teams, they also have a short-term specialised ward in Bury St Edmunds, Sylvan Ward. The hospice supplies many additional services on top of pain relief and medical support for the patient. Day activities, support groups and emotional, wellbeing, and bereavement support.
St Nicholas Hospice operates a 24hour advice and information line – 01284 766133.
St Elizabeth Hospice, Ipswich
Based in Ipswich, St Elizabeth Hospice can provide a variety of services for East Suffolk, Waveney, and Great Yarmouth. Their 18-bed inpatient units provide intensive inpatient care on a short-term basis, with facilities for carers/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. As of April 2019, St Elizabeth Hospice has taken responsibility for providing palliative care for Great Yarmouth and Waveney.
St Elizabeth Hospice also operates a 24hour advice and information line – 0800 567 0111
Bereavement Support Services
Losing someone you love can be one of the most difficult times we can face in our lives. People cope with grief differently, some worse than others, so it is vital that we know what support we have access to. Bereavement support services and groups come in all shapes and sizes – whether it be professional counselling or a walking group with people facing similar struggles, they can help a lot of people through their grief. We have made a list of the support services and groups available in Suffolk at Bereavement Support Services in Suffolk.