What we do

Palliative care aims to provide relief from suffering and improve the quality of life for both patients and their families. It takes an holistic approach, acknowledging that suffering is more than physical distress, and recognising that the patient requires a combination of physical, psychological, social and spiritual care.

Palliative care is delivered by two distinct categories of health and social care professionals:

  1. The patient’s and family’s usual carers i.e. district nurse, GP, care home and hospital staff. This level of care can be described as general palliative care. It is a vital and integral part of everyday clinical practice.
  2. Professional carers who specialise in palliative care. Specialist palliative care services are provided for patients and their families where there is a moderate to high complexity of need. The services provided at and from St Benedict’s Hospice and Centre for Specialist Palliative Care, fall into this category. The specialist palliative care team provide a service to the population of Sunderland and some bordering localities.

Patients may be referred to the service with a malignant disease (cancer) or with progressive illness where the prognosis is limited (e.g. chronic chest disease, renal disease, heart failure, neurological conditions) and the focus of care is on the quality of life. Referral will be with the full knowledge and agreement of the patient, doctor, and nurse in charge of the team undertaking the patients care and management.