Eligibility Criteria for Specialist Palliative Care for adults in Bradford District

These are general eligibility criteria for the specialist palliative care services in the district. Individual teams or hospices may develop more detailed criteria for some of their activities. Our aim is always to be flexible and sensitive to the needs of individual patients and their families.  

Eligibility criteria for referral to specialist palliative care services


·   The patient has active, progressive and usually advanced disease for which the prognosis is limited (although it can be several years) and the focus of care is quality of life.




·    The patient has one or more of the following needs which are unmet:


·        Uncontrolled or complicated symptoms.

·        Specialised nursing/therapy requirements.

·        Complex psychological/emotional issues.

·        Complex social or family issues.

·        Difficult decision making about future care.


How to refer

Written or verbal referrals are normally made by health or social care professional colleagues but self–referral (by patients and/or their carers) is possible. Self referrals are discussed with the primary health care team.

Written referrals are made using the common referral form

Action on a referral depends on its priority and the availability of resources. Each referral is discussed with the referrer and the professionals currently involved in the patient’s care. Either advice is given or an assessment planned. Following assessment the need for continuing involvement of the team and the appropriate level of intervention will be negotiated with the patient, informal carers and professionals involved.


Discharge Criteria

Individual teams will have discharge criteria for patients whose condition stabilises and no longer have specialist needs.


          Written 12.03.2002           Reviewed May 2007          To be reviewed May 2009

Eligibility criteria for hospice inpatient admission

The general criteria for referral to specialist palliative care services need to be met. The reason for an admission will then usually fall into one of the categories below. It is important to realise that the specific needs of patients and their carers are frequently changeable, hence, the need for continuing hospice inpatient care is routinely assessed at weekly intervals.

·    Care at the end of life: for people who are expected to die within two weeks.


·    Symptom control/Assessment / Reassessment: where the patient’s physical, social, psychological or spiritual   problems have proved difficult to manage in the community or hospital setting. This may require repeated admissions.


·    Rehabilitation:  e.g. following spinal cord compression or debilitating treatment. 


·    Crisis Respite: e.g. for carer fatigue/illness or breakdown of care package.

    Respite care is an imprecise term used in a variety of ways. Crisis Respite Care in a hospice is more likely to be appropriate when the prognosis is short i.e. just few weeks or months. Those with longer prognoses and/or whose condition is stable are often more appropriately offered respite care in a nursing home setting.

Due to the limited number of beds, the Hospices are unable to provide regular respite or booked holiday respite.

    Written 12.03.2002           Reviewed May 2007          To be reviewed May 2009