Nurse comforting patient

If you are living with a serious illness that cannot be cured then you may require palliative care, now or at some point in the future. 

What is palliative care?

You can receive palliative care at any stage in your illness - it does not necessarily mean that you are close to the end of your life. Some people receive palliative care for years, while others may only require it in their last weeks or months of life. You can also receive palliative care alongside other treatments which help to control your illness, such as chemotherapy, dialysis, oxygen and medications. Palliative care can help with: 

  • relief from pain and other distressing symptoms such as sickness and breathlessness;
  • help with social care needs - washing, dressing or eating
  • a source of emotional and psychological support, both for patients and their families
  • a planning tool – we work with patients and families to think and plan ahead for when their health deteriorates. This is also known as advance or anticipatory care planning.
  • care for people at the end of life, whether they are at home, in a care home, a hospital or hospice.

For many of us, when we hear the term palliative care we automatically think about a hospice. While hospices play an important role for some people, the vast majority of palliative care is provided by professionals in other parts of the healthcare system. Palliative care in Fife is provided by a wide range of health and social care professionals with GPs and district nursing teams at the forefront of this service provision.

The wider palliative care team comprises

  • The district nursing teams and GPs
  • Hospital nurses and doctors
  • Allied health professionals e.g., occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dietitians, chaplains, counsellors, psychologists
  • Social carers
  • Voluntary sector (e.g., Fife Carers’ Association, Marie Curie, Maggie’s and Macmillan)
  • Fife Specialist Palliative Care Services which includes inpatient and community services  

You can read more about the specialists involved by clicking on the box below

teams and services