Palliative and End of Life Care

End of life care is the term used to describe the support and care given to people in the last year of their life. It helps people with advanced, progressive or incurable illness to live as well as possible until they die. End of life care also includes support for people’s partners, families and informal carers, both before and after someone’s death.

What is end of life care?

End of life care is support for people who are in the last months or years of their life. It aims to help people to live as well as possible until they die, and to die with dignity.

It involves healthcare professionals taking into account patients’ wishes and preferences and working with them to plan their care. It also includes support for patients’ families, carers or other people who are important to them.

When does end of life care begin?

End of life care should begin when patients need it and may last a few days, or for months or years.

People in lots of different situations can benefit from end of life care. Some of them may be expected to die within the next few hours or days. Others receive end of life care over many months.

People are generally considered to be approaching the end of life when they are likely to die within the next 12 months, although this isn’t always possible to predict. This includes people whose death is imminent, as well as people who:

  • have an advanced incurable illness such as cancer, heart failure, advanced lung disease, dementia or motor neurone disease
  • are generally frail and have co-existing conditions that mean they are expected to die within 12 months
  • are at risk of dying from a sudden crisis in an existing condition
  • have a life-threatening acute condition caused by a sudden catastrophic event, such as an accident or stroke

Who provides end of life care?

Different health and social care professionals may be involved in end of life care, depending on the patient’s needs. For example, hospital doctors and nurses, GPs, community nurses, hospice staff and counsellors may all be involved, as well as social care staff, chaplains (of all faiths or none), physiotherapists, occupational therapists or complementary therapists.

What is palliative care?

End of life care includes palliative care. If a patient has an illness that can’t be cured, palliative care helps patients to be as comfortable as possible, by managing pain and other distressing symptoms. It also involves psychological, social and spiritual support for patients and for their family or carers.

Palliative care isn’t just for the end of life. Patients may receive palliative care earlier in their illness while they are still receiving other therapies to treat their condition.

Who provides palliative care?

Many healthcare professionals provide palliative care as part of their jobs, such as GPs or community nurses.

Some people need additional specialist palliative care. This may be provided by consultants trained in palliative medicine, specialist palliative care nurses or others, for example, specialist occupational therapists, physiotherapists or social workers.

Palliative care teams are made up of different healthcare professionals and can co-ordinate the care of people with an incurable illness. As specialists, they also advise other professionals on palliative care.

Thinking Ahead Programme

Our Palliative Care Team provides care and support for patients and relative at Harrogate District Hospital and in the community. One of the ways that support is given is through the collaborative ‘Thinking Ahead Programme’ which is a virtual or face to face programme for people with incurable cancer and their families and carers who live within Harrogate, Calderdale & Huddersfield or Leeds.

Watch the videos below for more details. If you are interested in attending the programme please contact your specialist Macmillan nurse or the Palliative & End of Life Administration Team on 01423 553464  or email: [email protected].

Video 1 Thinking Ahead: A collaborative programme

Video 2 Thinking Ahead: Benefits of the programme

Video 3 Thinking Ahead: Benefits for families and carers

Specialist Palliative Care in Harrogate and Rural District

This is provided by the Palliative Care Team (PCT), a team of doctors, nurses and administrative staff based at Harrogate District Hospital.

We have specialist knowledge in palliative care and visit patients in wards and outpatient departments at Harrogate District Hospital, in nursing/residential homes and in patients’ homes in Harrogate and the surrounding district.

We work closely with GPs, consultants and multi-professional teams who have overall responsibility for patient care. We aim to complement the care these teams are already providing to manage patients’ symptoms and to enhance quality of life.

We also work closely with Saint Michael’s Hospice in Harrogate.

Key staff

Hospital Team

Consultant in Palliative Medicine: Dr Peter Westwood

Consultant in Palliative Medicine: Dr Viv Barros D’Sa

Specialty Doctor in Palliative Medicine: Dr Cath Siller

Macmillan Lead Nurse for Palliative & End of Life Care: Charlotte Rock

Macmillan Senior Clinical Nurse Specialist: Jackie Dawson

 Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist: Hayley Watson

 Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist: Michelle Beaumont

Community Team

Consultant in Palliative Medicine: Dr Kath Lambert

Speciality Doctor in Palliative Medicine: Dr Claire Dickson

Speciality Doctor in Palliative Medicine: Dr Bethan Hain

Macmillan Senior Clinical Nurse Specialist (Community Lead): Clare Hudson

Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist: Jane Richardson

Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist: Sarah Conner

Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist: Trudi Newcombe

Palliative Care Occupational Therapist: Nicola Wood

Palliative Care Physiotherapist: Julie Holmes

Palliative Care and End of Life Administrators: Damien McCrudden, Lisa Hubbard

Working hours

The Team can be contacted Monday to Friday during office hours (8.30am-4pm).  However they are not always available to take calls, so please leave a message with our administrator or on our confidential answerphone and we shall return your call as soon as possible.


We accept referrals from patients, carers, GPs and via medical, nursing and therapy staff working in any care setting.

Click here to download the referral form

Electronic Palliative Care Co-ordination System (EPaCCs)

Identifying patients who may be in the last year of life is an important step in providing good quality care. Locally, this is done through a system called the Electronic Palliative Care Co-ordination System (EPaCCs).

Click here for details about EPaCCs.

Useful links