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Palliative Care

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Palliative Care team looks after the needs of patients in hospital with life threatening illness who have symptom control issues or a limited prognosis.
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t just look after patients who are dying, we work to maintain or improve a patient’s quality of life based on their individual needs at the time. We take a holistic approach, working alongside consultants and ward teams, to look at the physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and social aspects of their care. This includes supporting the needs of our patients’ families and carers as well.
We take referrals regardless of diagnosis if the patient has an incurable illness with a life-limiting prognosis and specialist needs. We see patients with cancer and non-cancer diagnoses.

Areas we help our patients and their families with include:

  • Pain management
  • Other physical symptom control such as breathlessness, depression, bowel or urinary symptoms, nausea and vomiting.
  • Psychological support, and referrals where necessary, for patients, family and carers.
  • Assessment for admission to a hospice
  • Care of the dying when problems occur
  • Therapy referrals
  • Spiritual support
  • We also provide information and advice to other teams in the hospital, helping them in difficult or distressing clinical situations.

    Although our practice is in adult specialist palliative care, we occasionally provide input and advice into the care of children with specialist palliative care needs.

    The Palliative Care Team

    Our team includes a consultant in palliative medicine and three specialist Palliative Care nurses. We also work extremely closely with the hospital’s oncology and specialist palliative care occupational therapists and speech and language therapists, as well as dietitians and spiritual care advisors.

    We offer a seamless service between the inpatient team at Royal Cornwall Hospitals, and the community palliative care team, working closely together to ensure continuity of care for people as they come into or leave hospital.

    Consultant in Palliative Medicine

    Dr Rachel Newman

    Palliative Care Specialist Nurses

    Liz Thomas
    Angela Hart
    Nicola Clapson

    Our specialist nurses are adopted by Macmillan. This means they receive access to Macmillan’s world-class training and resources for free.

    Referrals to Palliative Care

    Ward staff can refer inpatients to Palliative Care through MAXIMS. We aim to see all urgent patients referred to us within 24 hours. We also accept referrals from other healthcare professionals when their patients are being admitted to one of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals.

    Contacting the Palliative Care team

    The Palliative Care team works across many different wards and departments, so the best way to contact them is to ask a member of staff on the ward to bleep 3055 or call the Royal Cornwall Switchboard between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

    Useful Links

    The Cove Macmillan Cancer Support Centre
    Offers advice and support on all aspects of living with cancer. The centre is on the Royal Cornwall Hospital site in Truro. Find out more here.

    Penhaligons Friends
    This local charity supports children and young people who have family members with a serious illness.
    Visit their website.

    Cornwall Hospice Care
    Find out more about Cornwall Hospice Care and how they help look after patients with complex symptoms as inpatients and outpatients.