Your Palliative Care Helpline

Our single point of access offers advice, support, and information to people in their last year of life.

    Your Palliative Care Helpline

    From January 2023, The Palliative Care Helpline, (PCH) will be available 24 hours 7 days a week.

    The service, currently available during out-of-hours, has become a lifeline for many during its 5 years of operation: the extension will mean round-the-clock support for patients, and their families, as well as health and social care professionals across Highland.

    Available through a single point of access the service will be delivered by a highly experienced team, offering advice, support, and information to people in their last year of life, covering clinical, practical, financial, and social issues that may be causing concern.

    With one number to call, 01463 706655, and 24/7 access the service will always be available to assist people with support and advice when they need it most.

    For more information, join one of our upcoming information sessions. You can book a place at one ofthese sessions here, or contact Trisha Hatt at

    New Information Sessions coming soon!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the Palliative Care Helpline

    The Palliative Care Helpline will enhance current service delivery by simplifying access to necessary care for individuals and professionals through the provision of a single point of contact to people in their last year of life. The service will take ownership of queries to resolve these either during the call or coordinate a response and resolution. It can provide coordination and advisory support to people, carers and professionals. It can also continue to connect with the person and coordinate back to the community team as appropriate.

    The service will support the wider End of Life Care Together initiatives, which is working to improve early identification of people at End of Life, promoting early Anticipatory Care Plans and Person-Centred Plans, recognising that this proactive approach, and timeous service delivery, will support people ahead of reaching a time of crisis

    What is the Palliative Care Response Service

    The Palliative Care Response Service where necessary will be deployed to prevent carer breakdown, hospital admission or accelerate hospital or hospice discharge; to complement the high-quality service that is already being delivered across this population.

    This is a test of change to enable people to remain at home in the last 3 months of life, and to support earlier discharge from acute hospital/community hospital or hospice. It will support people in their preferred place. We can increase home care if that is what is required, by adding in scheduled or unscheduled care either as part of the current support or provide this until mainstream services can provide.

    When will the service start?

    The Palliative Care Response and the Palliative Care Helpline will be launched in January 2023.

    What will the staffing structure be?

    Service Lead Band 7

    2 Senior Nurses Band 6

    Coordinator Band 4

    Analyst Band 7 0.4 wte

    Whilst the team will initially operate from the hospice this is a partnership approach with Hospice and NHS Highland, linking closely to acute, out of hours and community services.

    How will this link with community services?

    The aim is to reduce complexities at this emotional time by providing a direct service available 24/7 for people at end of life, their families and carers for advice and handholding to other services. It will also support health and care professionals by being a direct source of advice. If required, clinical queries will be referred back to the person's GP or if required can be escalated for specialist advice through the Hospice either to the Advanced Clinical Nurse or to the Palliative Care Consultant.

    The service will enhance the already successful Palliative Care Helpline, which was set up in 2016 and covers 1800- 0800 every night, including daytime on public holidays and weekends, this is supported by the Out of Hours Service. The Palliative Care Helpline receives untriaged calls from the NHS Highland Hub, to be responded to by a clinical nurse within the hour.

    Why do we need to extend the current Palliative Care Helpline service?

    Our current Palliative Care Helpline is only available out of hours, in the evenings/weekends, but we're aware there's also a need for this during the day. There will be a coordinated approach to support the person/caller, assessment and ongoing support in order to prevent a crisis. There will be direct coordination with mainstream services, also referrals made to other community services to fully support the person in their preferred place. This service will identify unmet need and from this we can influence service development/improvement. There will be a direct link to hospice community service where they can provide emotional support to the person, family, and carers. If the mainstream services are unable to respond OT and Physiotherapy support can be provided until mainstream can support., Social care provider will provide access to timely personal care for individuals in last 3 months of life, for up to 6 weeks.

    There will be handover points in the early evening/ overnight and a potential to risk stratify people with planned interventions to avoid a crisis. By undertaking an assessment to proactively support and prevent carer breakdown.