Supporting Palliative Patients

Improvements in treatment mean that more people live longer with cancer that cannot be cured but can often be treated.

All of those patients, who have yet reached the point where they require specialist palliative services or hospice care, require specific high quality support, tailored to their own specific needs. This may include emotional support that helps them with planning for the future, with practical help and signposting to people and organisations that can help them to live a better quality of life with their diagnosis.

There are, however, unacceptable variations in access to this support across West Yorkshire and Harrogate. The Cancer Alliance has been working to look at gaps in the support offered to patients, family members and carers, after a person has a diagnosis of incurable cancer, to see how these needs can be better met and to develop a proposal of support.

The Alliance has been engaging with patients/carers/family members and bereaved family to ask about what worked well in terms of support following an incurable cancer diagnosis and what support was missing. This included questions about communication and conversations, what information was given, any holistic assessments offered and where people were signposted to support- learning from patients and families how this could be improved and how they think the unmet support needs could be better met.

All information provided is completely confidential and anonymous.

If you feel you would like to contribute this work and share your experiences, please contact the Cancer Alliance

In addition to hearing from those affected by cancer, the Alliance programme has also been engaging with the workforce in the six local places that make up our Alliance and beginning conversations across the professions - hospital staff, community palliative services, hospice teams, allied health professionals, GPs, carers and others - to hear their views and experiences.

Following this work, a report has been written with recommendations to improve support for this specific group of patients. 

Click here to access the report - Supporting Patients Living With A Palliative Cancer Diagnosis across West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance.

Recommendation One of the report states the Cancer Alliance should:

"Further engage with people in BAME groups, patients with learning difficulties and other protected characteristics who have not contributed in any of the engagement mechanisms used to inform this report. Also work with existing agencies to raise awareness and be advised on how to engage with people from these groups

Here is a link to a report of discussions with members of the patient panel in May 2020.

Other Useful Links

Click here to visit the End of Life Care pages on the NHS England website.

Dying Matters is a coalition of individual and organisational members across England and Wales, which aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life. Click here to access the Dying Matters website.