Specialists in palliative care

How to refer

We try to make the referral process to St John’s Hospice as simple as possible – whether you are health professional, family member or friend involved in that person’s care. 

How does the referral process work?

Every week day a team of health professionals (a Multi-Disciplinary Team) come together to look at the patients who have been referred to St John’s Hospice. The meeting considers a range of factors such as physical, mental, psychological, social and emotional needs, to decide which is the right care for that patient, when the right time may be and where the right place may be e.g. a patient may have decided that they would prefer to die home. The team works together to decide which Hospice service, or combination of Hospice services will provide the best care for that patient. Naturally each patient is looked at individually and each care pathway is tailored to that patient – so this means that the care pathway of one patient may be quite different to the care pathway of another patient.
Download Referral Form
St John’s care focuses on pain and symptom management, and care of the dying patient, this means we are unable to provide services for patients whose health conditions do not require specialist palliative care input; need indefinite care; have clinical problems that are not related to their life-shortening condition or have needs that would be best cared for in a Hospital setting. In cases such as these St John’s can suggest an alternative care pathway.

St John’s needs to prioritise access to all our services according to the complexity of patient need and demand, so therefore unfortunately may not be able to fulfil all requests. Before referring a person to St John’s here is some information to help you consider the services available and therefore what may be the most appropriate service to consider referring to:  

Referring to the inpatient ward -  important info to help you

St John’s Hospice inpatient ward provides Specialist Palliative Care for adults aged 18 and over whom have an advanced progressive life-shortening illness with associated complex needs which cannot be managed effectively by other health care services. 

Referring a person to St John’s Hospice in patient ward may be for the palliative care and management of complex symptoms, which may include a combination of physical, psychological, spiritual and social needs. A referral may also be made for care of a dying patient. St Johns is not a place of long-term care.

Referrals to the inpatient ward are made via health professionals e.g. GPs, District Nurses and Hospital Staff by completing the referral form here. On completing the form, please email it to: [email protected] More detailed information can be found on the inpatient referral criteria information sheet.

How to refer to the community team if you are a member of the public

The St John's Community team is made up of a number of different services; each designed to supporting patients and their families who prefer to remain at home for symptom management, pain relief and end of life care.

The Clinical Nurse Specialist Team works across North Lancashire area and supports people with incurable illnesses to live as well as possible. They work to reduce some of the problems people face by giving physical, psychological, spiritual and emotional support, helping people to look ahead and encourage people to share their end of life wishes with those close to them. They also help co-ordinate other care services in the area to help with pain management and symptom control. This team often work with a patient in their last 12 months of life.  

The Hospice at Home team works with patients who need palliative care and choose to be at home. They can assist with a wide range of needs such as managing breathing difficulties, nausea and pain and help people to be as comfortable as possible in their own homes. They can also offer day and night respite visits for palliative patients to support the patient and family carer. This team often work with a patient in their last 3 months of life.   
If you are a health professional who would like to refer a patient by phone to any of the community services e.g. the Hospice at Home team or Clinical Nurse Specialist Team, you can call: 01524 384887.

Alternatively, please complete the referral form here and on completing the form, please email it to: [email protected]
Download Referral Form

How to refer to the community services team if you are a member of the public or a health professional

If you would like to refer a family member or friend, we can help . If you are referring someone, we will ask you a number of questions so you can help us and the person you are referring by thinking about the following in advance: 


Do you have the consent of the person you are referring to St John’s? We will need to ask the person for their consent and it will need to be recorded on the person’s medical records. 


Who are the health professionals already in involved in your loved one’s care e.g. their District Nurse, GP or Hospital Specialist Nurse or Consultant? This is important as our work complements their work so the more involved they are, the more it will help with the person’s care. 


What is the person unwell with? For example, is it pain, is it breathlessness, is the person not coping at home very well, are you concerned about a loss of appetite or thirst, has someone suggested hospice care? Let us know.