Referral information

Referral information

Referral guidelines for Wigan borough specialist palliative care services.

Which patients may be referred to the Wigan specialist palliative care service?

  • The service is provided for patients living within the area of the Ashton, Leigh and Wigan Primary Care Trust, who have intractable and/or complex palliative care problems, whose needs cannot be met by hospital or primary care services or disease-specific specialist nurses.
  • Patients living outside this area may be offered care in exceptional circumstances. 
  • The patient, if competent, must agree to the referral.

Patients with any diagnosis may be referred in the following circumstances:

  • The patient has advanced progressive life-threatening illness of any aetiology, with life expectancy likely to be less than one year.
  • The patient has symptoms related to their life-threatening illness which are complex or rapidly changing.
  • The patient/carer has difficulty adjusting to the diagnosis, advancing disease or change of circumstances.
  • The patient has a serious illness which is likely to be life-limiting but anticipated life expectancy is greater than one year.                                          

Short-term intervention will be offered if:

  • The patient has symptoms related to their life-limiting illness which are complex or rapidly changing.
  • The patient/carer has difficulty adjusting to the diagnosis, advancing disease or change of circumstances.

If the problems resolve and the patient no longer requires specialist palliative care, they will be discharged back to the care of their usual health professionals. 

Who can refer to the Wigan specialist palliative care service?

The following people, may make referral, after a discussion within the relevant primary or secondary care team about the patient's specialist palliative care needs:

  • The patient's general practitioner
  • Hospital consultant or specialist registrar
  • Community or hospital-based Macmillan nurses
  • Other specialist nurses
  • District nursing team leaders (with the agreement of the patient's GP)

In addition, ward managers may refer to the hospital palliative care team.

How may patients be referred to the Wigan specialist palliative care service? 

  • Referrals to the hospital palliative care team should be made by telephone.
  • For all other services, referral using the Wigan specialist palliative care services referral form i(Adobe PDF, 281KB) s preferable. However, a letter detailing full information will be accepted. 
  • We are very happy to discuss potential referrals by telephone, particularly if the patient's problems are complex or the referral is urgent.
  • Please ensure that you provide us with adequate information when you refer a patient. If we have to contact you for further details, there will be a delay in processing the referral.

When will patients be discharged from the Wigan specialist palliative care service?

Patients will be discharged from the service if any of the following apply:

  • They currently have no need of specialist palliative care and their needs can be met by hospital or primary care services or disease-specific specialist nurses.
  • The patient (or if relevant the carer) no longer wishes to access services.
  • The patient moves out of the catchment area.

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