Information for Patients

Palliative care is the holistic care of patients who are suffering with advanced illness or suffering with symptoms that are difficult to cope with. Many different professionals may be needed, each with specialist skills in this area, for example doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and others.

Palliative medicine is the name given to the medical specialty which concentrates on improving the quality of life for people with such conditions, and their families. This is achieved through reducing the severity of the symptoms and helping with the emotional, social and spiritual distress that may afflict those faced with serious and progressive illness. Although many of these people have cancer, others suffer from a variety of conditions affecting their heart, lungs, kidneys or brain. Obviously, some of these people will be dying and palliative or hospice care is renowned for supporting them and their families through this uniquely difficult time.

Palliative medicine doctors are available in hospitals, hospices and in the community, where they visit people in their own homes or residential homes. Many also have outpatient clinics. Usually they work closely with others, for example general practitioners, district nurses, cancer specialists and surgeons, and this makes it easy for people to get the care they need.

The way in which palliative medicine is provided varies from area to area. If you think that you may benefit from seeing a palliative medicine specialist, talk to your general practitioner or hospital specialist about this. Together, you can decide whether this might be helpful for you at this time.

Expert Witnesses

APM does not routinely find expert witnesses for legal proceedings involving palliative care. In the event that you need to find an expert witness, there are lots of free search resources online. Alternatively, solicitors have access to lists of medical experts.