How to refer
Clinicians may refer using the form below or by phoning 020 8768 4582 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday) or 020 8768 4500 (24 hours). Please telephone for all emergency referrals.
Once completed please email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please make sure that you send this form using a secure email account such as NHS email.
If you would like to integrate our referral form into your electronic patient record system, please email email@example.com
We welcome discussion with community or hospital colleagues about cases where they need urgent advice, are uncertain whether to refer or need help signposting to other services. Advice for professionals from senior medical and nursing staff is available 24 hours a day (020 8768 4500). Anticipatory prescribing for end of life guidance can be found here.
Who can be referred?
Healthcare professionals may refer any patients with advanced cancer, or any other advanced, progressive and life limiting non-malignant disease, where the complexity of the illness needs the services of a specialist palliative care team to achieve control of symptoms and social, psychological and spiritual support to the patient and family.
What can patients be referred for?
Any patient with an advanced, progressive and life-limiting disease, where the complexity of the illness or situation needs the expertise of a palliative care team. Please make sure that the patient, or their family if a patient lacks capacity, has consented to the referral.
Our catchment area covers Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Bromley and Croydon. Both the patient and their GP must be in one of these boroughs.
Patients with GPs in some of Lambeth and Southwark may be under neighbourhood community palliative care teams or in the catchment area of Royal Trinity Hospice: we can clarify whether they are in our catchment area. Patients out of their GP’s home visiting area will be encouraged to register with a local practice. Patients from other areas will be considered on an individual basis.
What we can offer
Referrals can be made for support in the community (including care homes), outpatients or the inpatient unit. The team most suited to the patient’s needs and goals will lead on their care.
A period of care and support could include:
- Help with managing symptoms
- Advance care planning and end of life care
- Rehabilitation and wellbeing support including a breathlessness management service and ‘Fit for Life’
- Social and welfare support
- Psychological, emotional and spiritual support.
For inpatients, St Christopher’s can also offer:
- Neural blockade including epidural and intrathecal infusions
- Intravenous treatment of hypercalcaemia, clinically assisted hydration, elective blood transfusion and some intravenous antibiotics (TPN can be managed with external support)
- Elective ascitic drainage.
Other services under the St Christopher’s ‘umbrella’ include:
What we cannot offer
- Inpatient respite care
- Long-term inpatient care
- Long-term weekly day care.
Chronic pain management advice for housebound patients may be offered on a consultancy basis, but we do not replicate chronic pain services.
How we respond to a referral
Our Single Point of Contact (SPoC) multi-professional team assesses all referrals. Out of hours referrals are assessed by our on-call nursing and medical teams. We respond according to the need, urgency and complexity of the issues presented to us by the referrer. This depends on the amount and quality of information received: incomplete referral forms will cause delays as we chase this essential information.
Emergency referrals will be responded to within 24 hours whereas for non-urgent referrals, patients will be given information about St Christopher’s and assessed by telephone within 14 days.
Ending and restarting a period of care
Patients on the inpatient unit will usually be discharged when our expertise is no longer required in an inpatient setting. Our average length of stay is 2 weeks. Patients will then be reviewed at home or in the care home by our community team for a further period of care. If patients are admitted for end of life care we will still parallel plan for discharge if they have low complex needs and do not directly need our expertise.
Community patients who are stable and who have completed their planned care interventions are reviewed by the multi-professional team involved and may be discharged from our services. Patients, carers and professionals can all re-activate a new period of care by contacting the Single Point of Contact (SPoC) team on 020 8768 4582 with updated information on the patient’s needs.
St Christopher’s also offers a wide range of activities that are open to everyone including all patients, families and carers, both past and present.