Hospital Palliative Care

General palliative care

The Trust provides palliative care to many patients in hospital wards and at outpatient clinics.

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families, through prevention and relief of suffering, by early identification, assessment and treatment of pain and other problems.

In hospital, palliative care is a central aspect of the care provided by doctors, nurses and other health care staff.

It is provided by multi-disciplinary teams of staff which include doctors, nurses and other professionals who have expertise in particular conditions such as respiratory disease, heart failure, renal disease, neurological conditions and dementia, for example, heart failure nurses.


Patients with more complex needs may require specialist palliative care.

A referral will be made to the Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Team if a patient requires complex symptom management, psychological, social and spiritual support, complex discharge planning or complex end of life care. The focus of care is to improve the quality of life and relief of troublesome symptoms. Patients can be referred to the specialist team by their hospital consultant. By any healthcare professional with permission from the patients consultant

Specialist palliative care

Specialist palliative care aims to provide the best quality of life to all patients with complex palliative care needs. It provides:

  • Management of complex pain, other symptoms, psychological and spiritual support needs, rehabilitation and end of life care.
  • Integrated care to patients with complex palliative care needs and their families by, where possible, offering choices appropriate to needs, throughout their care and across all care environments.
  • Specialist palliative care advice and support to the primary health care teams, community hospitals, secondary care, statutory and independent carers.
  • Education, information and support to patients, families and health and social care professionals to enable the best care for all patients from diagnosis of a life-limiting disease, to end of life care and bereavement support for families.

Specialist palliative care is provided within the two main acute hospitals in the Northern Trust, Antrim Area Hospital and Causeway Hospital, Coleraine.

The Northern Trust Hospital Specialist Palliative Care Team provides support, information and advice to hospital teams that provide care for palliative patients and their families and carers. This team is also referred to as the Macmillan Team.

The Hospital Specialist Palliative Care Team is made up of consultants, doctors, nurses and other specialist staff.

The palliative care nurse specialist is a nurse with advanced qualifications in symptom management within palliative care. They provide support, information and advice to medical and nursing teams for palliative care patients and their families within the hospital. Also, they liaise closely with services in the hospital and community to ensure the appropriate services are in place for discharge. They are based in Causeway and Antrim Area Hospitals.

The Team has expertise in treating pain and other symptoms. They can be involved in caring for a patient at any stage during their illness; from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. They also liaise closely with other staff and community to ensure that the appropriate services are in place for discharge.

The Team is available across both hospitals, Monday to Friday 9am -5pm. Outside these hours consultant telephone advice is available for medical staff.

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