As well as the medical support that general practitioners can provide to palliative patients, it is often important to step back and offer a more personal and human element. Patients and families appreciate this, and this approach can help in the holistic care of the palliative patient and their family. It is also important to remember that carers of the patient have their own needs which are often put to one side whilst caring for the patient. Simply acknowledging their role and thanking them goes a long way. Asking if they need any support themselves is an important consideration.
Being aware of external third sector organisations that can offer an abundance of support to the patient and their carers opens up a great resource for them. Patients may be signposted or referred to agencies such as MacMillan, local Hospice outreach services and Age UK as well as condition-specific ones like Alzheimer’s Society and British Heart Foundation.
There is also the matter of offering financial support. Completing a DS1500 will allow a fast track payment to be made to these patients under a personal independence payment or disability living allowance.