Palliative and End-of-Life of Care

As the ambulance service, we sadly see people who die in unexpected circumstances, however we also care for people who know they are at the end of their lives. No matter how or when a person dies, SECAmb is committed to ensure that everyone is cared for with the utmost respect, dignity, and compassion.

Palliative and End of Life Care Team - Jim Walmsley and Jen Scott-Green

The term ‘end of life’ refers to patients in their last year of life and it is important to recognise this time, so we can plan for the future and document a patient’s wishes.

The term palliative care is often used interchangeably with end-of-life care. However, it is distinctively different. Palliative care largely relates to symptom management and patients can still have active treatment whilst also collaboratively seeing a palliative care team too. Sometimes this means that a patient will be under a palliative care team or a hospice for many months or years.

Here at SECAmb, we have a dedicated Palliative and End of Life Care Team who are not only there to guide and support staff in their care of palliative and end-of-life care patients, they also work with wider palliative and end-of-life care teams across our region. This is to make sure that if we do receive an emergency 999 call to attend a patient at the end of their lives, we are delivering gold standard compassionate care. We strive to work with all our health and social care partners, to deliver a joined up approach to patients until their last breath and beyond.

If you are currently receiving palliative or end of life care or you are caring for someone who is, it is important, as a service, we are aware of the decisions you have made with your healthcare provider. Sometimes people coming to the end of their life may need emergency medical assistance from our service and it can be very distressing for the patient and loved ones at a time of crisis. We advocate the use of the Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment (ReSPECT) process towards care planning, although we recognise any format you would like to use to record your wishes. To find further information about ReSPECT, please visit https://www.resus.org.uk/respect

You can find out more about advance care planning in end of life care at NHS.uk where there is a wealth of information and resources to help you make informed choices and decisions around end of life care.

For healthcare professionals wishing to contact our Palliative and End-of-Life Care Team, please get in touch via eolc@secamb.nhs.uk.