palliative care in general practice

Last reviewed 01/2018

The hospice movement has had a major effect on how we look after the terminally ill at home, involving:

  • excellent control of pain and other symptoms
  • time to talk to the patient and their family
  • the quality of life left
  • the GP as coordinator of the primary health care team and other carers to ensure flexible and continuous support
  • good communication with the on-call doctor out of hours
  • extra district nursing, social services and domiciliary hospice nursing resources
  • opportunity for the patient to talk about their fears (often they can be swiftly reassured)
  • regular review of drugs (keep as simple as possible)
  • regular analgesics (more effective than relieving established pain)
  • terminal care allowance (complete DS1500 promptly)

ref: N Lawrence et al, HB Emergencies in Gen Pract 2e, 1996