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Palliative care

Palliative care involves treatment intended to reduce the severity of symptoms in a patient with a terminal illness. It encompasses physical, psychological and spiritual care, and its goal is to achieve the best quality of life possible for the patient.




Palliative care can take place in the patient’s own home, in a care home, in hospitals (often with use of the Liverpool Care Pathway or in a hospice). Many types of healthcare professionals, social services, and the voluntary sector are involved in palliative care, including doctors, general nurses and specialist nurses.




The patient safety issues in palliative care usually relate to a failure to control symptoms adequately. The National Reporting and Learning Service has also identified specific safety issues related to the use of medicines in terminal care including:




  • pain therapy

  • oxygen therapy

  • radiotherapy




Patients receiving palliative care can also be vulnerable to patient safety risks common to all patients, including as falls, pressure ulcers, and healthcare associated infection.




Search below for resources related the NRLS’s work around palliative care.