Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems physical, psychological and spiritual (WHO 2013).
The Wirral Community Specialist Palliative Care Team -Macmillan – (CSPCT) provides a multi-professional approach, including:
- Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)
- Senior Nurse Practitioners (SNP)
- Allied Health Professionals
- Social Workers
- Occupational Therapists
There is also an Administration Team including an MDT Coordinator and Administration staff. The Team are co-located with the End of Life Care Team with whom they work closely, to ensure palliative care systems, processes, education, training and support are in place in whichever setting you are being cared for.
Patients are assessed holistically by Clinical Nurse Specialists and Senior Nurse Practitioners who are dedicated in providing the highest standards of up to date specialist palliative care to adults in Wirral, registered with a Wirral General Practitioner (GP), with complex palliative care needs, associated with advanced progressive disease, the aim being to relieve distress and optimise quality of life for the patient and those closest to them.
We have an advisory role in which we offer specialist expert advice on symptom control to patients, those closest to them and their GP, community nurses and other health and social care providers. We also provide psychological support to both patient and carer.
We offer practical advice on future care and attempt to anticipate needs of patients, aiming to prevent unnecessary hospital admission.
CSPCT is based at Wirral Hospice St John’s and works in partnership with Hospice Palliative Medicine Consultants, Hospice services, GPs, community nursing teams and other health and social care professionals to provide the highest quality palliative care to adult patients and those closest to them in the community setting.
We provide education and training to The Primary Health Care Team (GP, Community Nurses) and other health and social care professionals involved in the delivery of palliative care to adults in Wirral.
We monitor service delivery to ensure it is benchmarked (performance is measured) against other services so we can identify if there are any opportunities for improvement with the aim to maintain excellence.
CSPCT provides a 7-day service, offering both face to face and telephone consultations. Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm.
We also operate a professional advice line, now called Wirral Palliative Care Advice Line (previously known as PAIL) service Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm which provides specialist palliative care advice to health professionals, patients and carers.
Weekends and bank holidays are covered as an on call service via a specialist palliative professional advice line, this is accessed by GP out of hours, Community Nurses and Registered Nurses in Care Homes.
Between the hours of 5.00pm and 9.00am, out of hours palliative advice can be obtained from Professional Advice and information line (PAIL) at Wirral Hospice St Johns.
CSPCT aims to respond to referrals in a timely manner. All referrals are triaged to the most appropriate person to help meet the needs of the patient.
Referrals are accepted from GPs, Community Nurses, Care Homes, hospital and hospice discharges.
Referral criteria: the patient must have complex palliative care needs.
Exclusion criteria: person declines to accept specialist palliative care.
The roles of Community Specialist Palliative Care Allied Health Professionals (AHPs)
The role of our CSPCT Dietitian is to support patients and their families/carers who are experiencing difficulties with changes in appetite, symptoms, psychological, social and spiritual needs that are having a significant impact on patient’s nutritional status and quality of life
Aims of care are to maximise appetite and enjoyment of food through a holistic approach that alleviates symptoms, overcomes difficulties, and improves quality of life. Assessment and advice will be individualised, supportive and practical considering the patients goals and wishes.
CSPCT Physiotherapist / Occupational Therapist
The role of the Physiotherapist / OT in the team is to improve the quality of life for patients with a complex palliative care diagnosis. We aim to maximise dignity and reduce the extent to which disease impacts an individual’s physical and psychological functioning, including advice/support/education regarding appropriate treatment, intervention and equipment. Patients can be referred exclusively for OT and Physiotherapy should they meet the criteria in relation to complexity relating directly to their palliative condition.
This includes (but not exclusively).
- Functional rehabilitation
- Anxiety management and coping strategies
- Fatigue management
- Cognitive assessment
- Complex manual handling assessment
- Provision of equipment for activities of daily living
- Exercise programmes
- Management of chronic chest conditions (not urgent chest clearance)
- Pain and symptom management – acupuncture, TENS, positioning
Further information can be provided in relation to inclusion / exclusion criteria if requested.
CSPCT Social Worker
The role of the Specialist Palliative Care Social Worker is to practice across health and social care, providing a network between the two, as well as between health professionals working in either domain. By coordinating communication between the multidisciplinary team and consulting with outside agencies (e.g., primary care providers, and voluntary agencies), social workers actively advocate for the patient and their family. Provide a holistic assessment of the patient noting their physical, emotional, social, financial and spiritual needs.
- Finances – enhance financial situation
- Housing – re housing, work with Social Housing
- Link in with schools
- Pre and post bereavement, counselling (signpost)
- Support with Continuing Health Care Funding/care packages
The AHPs in the teamwork between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
Our office is located at Wirral Hospice St Johns, 2nd Floor, Mount Road, Bebington, Wirral. CH63 6JE
Telephone 0151 328 0481 Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm (except bank holidays).
Weekend and bank holidays 9.00am to 5.00pm. Contact is via professional advice and information line only. This means that you will need to be assessed by a community nurse and/or GP who will then contact the service for advice and support.
Outside of these hours, please use the 24/7 Wirral Palliative Care Advice Line: 0151 343 9529.
Useful links and resources
Palliative Care Services across Wirral – leaflet