The referral process
People must usually be referred to any of St Catherine’s Hospice’s services by a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or district nurse.
We prioritise referrals on the basis of need, and the type of service that may best meet that need. We do not operate a first-come, first-served system.
- If you are a healthcare professional, click here for our referral form to refer one of your patients to St Catherine’s.
In-patient referrals are made by a person’s GP, hospital doctor, district nursing sister/charge nurse, ward sister, community matron or a Clinical Nurse Specialist.
It is important that a person is informed and agreeable to the referral and we always check that this is the case.
We review all current referrals each morning, contacting the relevant professional for further information if we do not think we have a complete picture.
We always prioritise admissions depending on a person’s clinical and social needs. In some cases community care may be a more appropriate choice or option, and often we will refer a person on to these services – sometimes as an interim measure while they wait for an in-patient unit bed to become available.
When a hospice bed becomes available, we contact the referring professional to arrange admission. The length of a person’s stay varies depending on their individual need. It is always our intention to help people manage their symptoms and feel comfortable enough to be able to return home if possible. However, some patients will die at the hospice under the care of our highly experienced staff.
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) service
Referrals to our community team of Clinical Nurse Specialists are made by a person’s GP, hospital doctor, district nursing sister/charge nurse, or ward sister.
The hospice community team manages each referral – ensuring they have the information required to fully assess a patient’s level of need, allowing them to prioritise an appointment effectively. An appointment is then made with the team and visits managed and co-ordinated from then on, working in conjunction with other health and social professionals such as district nurses.
Referrals to our specialist lymphoedema service – based at The Woodside Clinic in the hospice grounds – are made by from a person’s GP, hospital doctor, district nursing sister/charge nurse or Clinical Nurse Specialist. They are sent directly to our lymphoedema team who then assess clinical need and gather any additional information they may require.
The lymphoedema service then makes an appointment directly with the patient, ensuring that any other healthcare professionals involved are kept informed.
The discharge process
If a person’s current palliative care needs are being met, they may be discharged from our services. This happens following discussions with the patient and their family, and in agreement with other healthcare professionals. We work closely with everyone involved to ensure continuity of care once a person is discharged, so they continue to receive the most appropriate level of care for their individual needs.
Whilst we are unable to provide care on a long-term basis, people may be referred back to our services in the future if the need arises. This means we are able to help as many people as possible, providing care where and when it is needed the most.