Hospice care is a system of care that helps those with an incurable illness to focus on making the most of whatever time is left. Support is also offered to those close to the patient, and many hospices also offer care during the bereavement period.

Hospices are no longer just for the last days of life. They now also offer a range of support, often alongside active treatment for an illness. The focus of modern hospice care is on helping people to live well until they die - to help with suffering, be it emotional or physical.

Southampton City Council does not provide hospice care, however, there a number of hospices throughout Hampshire which do provide this sort of care.

How can I be referred to a hospice care service?

Your own GP (this is your family doctor) or a hospital doctor will normally arrange for you or a family member to be referred to a hospice care service.

Do talk to your doctor or any of the staff caring for you if have worries or concerns or want to discuss the option of a referral. You will often be referred to a home-care service at first.

The home-care service can arrange for you to stay in an in-patient unit if it becomes necessary. If you are having visits from a district nurse, he or she may also refer you to a Macmillan or Marie Curie nurse.

Can I choose where I am referred?

People are normally referred to the hospice or palliative care service nearest to their home. In special circumstances it may be possible for referrals to be made to services elsewhere in the country.

What services are included in hospice care?

Hospices provide a range of services which differs from place to place. You can expect to find some, if not all, of the following:

  • Skilled medical care provided by doctors and nurses who are specially trained in pain and symptom control and in giving emotional support to patients and their carers
  • Care at home
  • Care in a bedded unit - hospice, hospital or palliative care centre
  • A day hospice providing social and creative opportunities, as well as assessment and treatment, sometimes including complementary therapies
  • Support for friends, family and children including practical advice and counselling
  • Spiritual support
  • Physiotherapy
  • Lymphoedema service (lymphoedema is a form of chronic swelling)
  • Respite care to give carers a break
  • Sitting service for patients at home
  • Bereavement support

Where is hospice care provided?

Hospice care may be provided at home (with support from specially trained staff), in a hospice or palliative care centre, in a hospital or nursing home or in a day hospice.

Who provides hospice care?

GPs and district nurses, medical and nursing staff in hospitals and nursing homes. Many people, however, need more specialist help.

This can be provided by a charitable hospice, a NHS Palliative Care Unit, Macmillan nurses, Marie Curie nurses or a Hospital Palliative Care Team (or Support or Symptom Control Team).

Will I have to pay?

No. Hospice or palliative care is free of charge to patients and their families.

Are hospices religious places?

Hospice and palliative care services try to meet the needs of people from all cultures and religions and of those with no particular faith. Some hospices do have a Christian foundation, but all of them welcome everyone.

For any further queries, please feel free to contact

Countess Mountbatten Hospice
Southampton
Tel: 023 8047 7414
Email: cm@suht.swest.nhs.uk