What are Palliative Day Services?

Helping patientRelationships are at the heart of day services. Day services provide specialist palliative care within a group context, where meaningful relationships are paramount.

Palliative day services are for people living with a terminal illness, where a cure is no longer possible. It’s also for people with a complex or life-limiting illness, and need their symptoms controlled. The goal of palliative day services is to provide individualized, holistic care, that promotes independence and rehabilitation, improves self-worth, and ultimately enables the best quality of life for patients and their families.

Facilitated by a specialist multidisciplinary team, day services offer the opportunity for regular review and assessment of the patient’s condition, and sets holistic goals that address physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs.

Day services provide proactive care, with the specific aim and outcome of preventing crises, enabling rehabilitation, and developing self-management strategies. Care that promotes independence, improves self-worth, and enhances quality of life.

This care is provided within a context of social interaction, support and friendship. Many services offer a range of creative and social activities for patients. In this way, day services prevent the social isolation many experience as a result of their disease, and provide a caring sanctuary for patients to share experiences, to face difficult discussions, and come to terms with their illness, their future, and end of life issues. It’s also a place to create memories, and to form friendships with others that are facing similar challenges, providing a robust support system for the patient and their loved ones.

Although day services across the country vary in the structure of their service, staffing, and provision, many incorporate these core principles. Day services are dependent on a multidisciplinary team, including specialist palliative nurses, healthcare assistants, social workers, volunteers and arts facilitators, complementary therapists, and psychotherapists. The APDS welcomes membership from all professionals working within palliative day services.