Our Care - Frequently Asked Questions

We know that people will have lots of questions about the care we provide.

People often have misconceptions of hospice care. Here are some of the more commonly asked questions people ask when they are considering hospice care.

How would I get a bed at one of your hospices?

You can be referred to us by any of the key healthcare professionals who are involved in your care, but always in liaison with your GP or hospital consultant so that we can ensure continuity and coordination of your care. Most patients come into our units because they are having a difficult time with particular symptoms or the overall impact of their illness.

You can also contact us direct, but we will always refer back to your GP or consultant to make sure the care is right for you.

Can my family stay with me?

Yes of course. You can stay for as long as you like, either in the room with your relative or friend, or we have a relative’s bed room with en-suite facilities where you can stay.  This is especially useful if you have to travel from outside Cornwall.

What are the visiting times at the hospices?

We realise people have busy lives but also that they want to spend time with people who are with us so there are no specific visiting times. We do however have protected mealtimes between 12 – 1pm and 5-6pm to enable our patients to enjoy their meals free of interruptions. However if a family member wants to enjoy a meal with their relative this can be facilitated.

Where can I park when visiting?

Both Mount Edgcumbe and St Julia’s Hospices have their own dedicated car parks which are free of charge.  Parking is limited at St Julia’s, but additional pay and display or on street parking is available close by.

Can I have the same treatments as I would have in hospital?

There are many treatments we can give in the hospice, including antibiotics, fluid drips and blood transfusions, but we cannot provide the very acute or complex treatments available in the acute hospitals. We can do blood tests and arrange for you to have other tests at the hospitals as needed. We work very closely with the teams involved in your care at the hospitals and will discuss with them and you the most appropriate place for you to be cared for depending on your needs and wishes at the time. Patients often move from hospital to hospice or vice versa as their needs change.

Will I be given morphine or sedation?

Each patient’s symptoms are different and we will discuss with you, and those close to you, the best treatments for your symptoms. This may include morphine or other painkillers but we will carefully adjust doses to manage your pain and minimise any side effects. Patients often become weaker and more sleepy when they are very unwell as part of the normal progress of their illness; we only give sedative medications when they are needed for agitation or distress and will always discuss this.

If I go into the Hospice will I die?

People are often very frightened about going into the hospice because they think it is only for patients at the very end of their lives. People come in at many stages of their illness and more than half of our patients go home again. Many patients receive in- and out-patient care from the hospices over months or years alongside treatment for their underlying illness. We will talk with you when you come in about your wishes and goals for your treatment and care and will try and help you achieve these.

Can I go into the Hospice for respite?

No. Cornwall Hospice Care’s two hospices provide specialist palliative care and need to prioritise patients who need that complex and specialist care. Your GP and community nurses will be able to advise about respite care options.

How long will I stay at the Hospice?

Cornwall Hospice Care’s hospices are not long term care facilities. Patients remain in the hospice for as long as it takes to treat their symptoms to enable them to return home or to a care home or other care setting. Our average length of stay is about a week, but this varies widely with patient needs. This return home is in consultation with the patient and their family to ascertain the most appropriate place and the support and care needed. Cornwall Hospice Care have a team of Occupational Therapists who provide a service to ensure everything is in place for a patient when they return home, so that they are in a safe environment with the support needed.

Can my children/grandchildren visit me?

Yes, the hospices are an easier environment than a busy hospital for children to visit. We welcome children and are happy to support you in talking with them about your illness. We have close links with Penhaligon’s friends, the children’s bereavement charity in Cornwall.

Can my pets visit me?

Yes, by prior arrangement with the nursing team. Dogs are to be kept on a lead and cats in a basket in all public areas please.

Can I come to the Hospice to look around?

We welcome you to come and see the facilities at our hospices, but this must be by prior appointment. Please phone and ask to speak to the ward managers to arrange a visit.