Hospices specialise in care for terminally ill people and can really help carers. Hospices meet the needs of people from all cultures and religions, as well as those with no faith. Some hospices specialise in palliative care for children.

Hospices provide palliative care to improve the lives of people whose illness is not curable. Palliative care can include:

  • Medical and nursing care
  • Pain and symptom control
  • Rehabilitation
  • Therapies, including physiotherapy and complementary therapies
  • Spiritual support
  • Practical and financial advice
  • Bereavement care for patients’ carers, families and friends

At some point you may need to find a hospice for the person you're looking after. People are normally referred to a hospice by their GP or hospital doctor. Hospices are free and a person may be referred at any time between the diagnosis of an illness and the end of life.

A person is usually referred to the hospice palliative care service nearest their home. In special circumstances, out-of-area referrals may be considered. The person you're looking after may be discharged from the hospice once they no longer need palliative care. They can return at any point if their condition changes.

Hospices also offer respite care. This is where the person you're looking after stays there for a short time. Respite care allows carers to have a break from caring, knowing that the person they look after is well cared for.

To find a hospice near your home visit the Hospice UK website.

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