The Northumbria Healthcare Palliative Care team supports patients over 18 years of age with a life-limiting condition, their family and carers; at home or in Community and Hospital settings across Northumberland and North Tyneside

Health professionals such as GP (General Practitioner), Community Nurse, Hospital Consultant or Specialist Nurse can refer someone to the service via a referral form which can be emailed securely.

The Northumbria Healthcare Palliative Care teams support patients, their families and carers at home, in Acute and Community hospitals, in Care Homes, at the North Tyneside Day Hospice and in dedicated NHS Specialist Palliative Care Inpatient Units across Northumberland & North Tyneside.

The Palliative Care Team can assist patients when they are first diagnosed with a life-limiting condition as well as supporting them and their family/carers throughout their illness and as they approach the end of their life. The team don’t just look after people with a cancer diagnosis they can support adults with any life-limiting condition.

Palliative Care is an approach to care that addresses the person as a whole, not just their disease or condition, this is often referred to as Holistic Care. This means the palliative care team can help support physical, psychological, social and spiritual problems that may be experienced due to the disease or condition. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat, as early as possible, any symptoms and side effects of the disease or condition alongside any treatment approaches.

The Northumbria Healthcare NHS Palliative Care team is a group of multi-professional, organisational wide services that support patients and their family/carers with a life-limiting diagnosis. This includes when patients are first diagnosed, throughout their illness and as they approach the end of their life. Some services can support through bereavement too.

The Northumbria Healthcare Palliative Care team support patients, their families and carers at home, in Acute and Community hospitals, in Care Homes, at the North Tyneside Day Hospice and in dedicated NHS Specialist Palliative Care Inpatient Units across Northumberland & North Tyneside. This Specialist service consists of Consultants, Nurses, Social Workers, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Technical Instructors, Carers, Support Service Co-ordinators and support staff.

The Northumbria Healthcare Palliative Care team work alongside other health care professionals. Our services can assist with a range of issues which includes managing complex symptoms including pain control, provide physical, social, emotional and psychological support and short-term hands-on care assistance at home.

Once a referral is received by the Palliative care service it will be discussed within the team. If the referral is accepted, the most appropriate team member will be assigned to the patient. Contact may be via letter, telephone, virtual consultation or face to face. It may be a one-off contact or it may be for a longer period depending on the circumstances.

Palliative care support can be appropriate at various times throughout the course of a life-limiting illness. Palliative care can be provided in conjunction with treatments that are intended to prolong life or support symptom control measures, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

We are sorry that you have experienced the loss of someone close to you and we would like to express our sincere sympathy to you and your family at this time.

This guide aims to provide some practical advice to help you during the early days of your bereavement.

Please ask us if you are unsure about anything. We are always pleased to help you.

 

The following people will be able to help you during this time:

  • Ward/unit staff where the person close to you died.
  • The Medical Examiner (a senior doctor whose job it is to review the cause of death and the care the person close to you received).
  • The Medical Examiner Officers (whose job it is to inform you of the process and support the Medical Examiner to complete the required paperwork).

 

What happens next?

You will be contacted by the Medical Examiner Officer within 2 working days after the person has died. During this call they will discuss the following:

  • The process relating to death certification and registration
  • Contacting funeral directors and the completion of funeral paperwork
  • Whether the death requires discussion with HM Coroner
  • If you have any concerns or queries relating to the care the patient received
  • Respond to any other questions you may have around what happens next

Following this initial conversation, the care of the person who has died will be reviewed by a Doctor that cared for them and the Medical Examiner. The Doctor and Medical Examiner will confirm the cause of death and complete the medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD). If a referral is to be made to HM Coroner this will be done at this stage. Funeral paperwork required to be completed by the medical team will also be completed during this review.

Once the MCCD has been completed, (and the release authorised by HM Coroner, where appropriate) the Medical Examiner or Medical Examiner Officer will contact you to talk through the MCCD and explain what this means including explaining any medical terminology used. They will be able to answer any questions or queries you may have. They will inform you how to register the death.

The MCCD is scanned through to the registrar and you will be given the contact details for the registrar’s office. Please note you will not be required to return to the hospital to collect the MCCD. More information on death registration can be found under ‘Registration of Death’.  

 

Medical Examiner Office Contact Details:

The Northumbria, Cramlington                  0191 607 2271

North Tyneside General Hospital              0191 293 4390

Wansbeck General Hospital                      0167 052 9399

 

We know that people often have questions and concerns after someone has died. Our team of Medical Examiner Officer’s will aim to answer these questions and provide guidance. If you have any further questions or concerns you are welcome to contact the PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) on:

Telephone: 0800 032 0202 or emailnorthoftynepals@nhct.nhs.uk

 

Visiting the person who has died - hosptial mortuary viewing room

The viewing of the person who has died is ideally carried out at the chosen Funeral Director’s Chapel of Rest where the surroundings are peaceful and suitable for this purpose.

If your relative has been transferred to a hospital mortuary and you

wish to visit them you need to make an appointment.

 

Please contact us on 0344 811 8111 and ask to speak to the mortuary team at the relevant hospital site.

 

Appointments can usually be arranged Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 4.00pm and each appointment is for 30 minutes.

We understand that occasionally exceptional circumstances will arise when people need to view outside of these hours and we will try to make arrangements for you.

The viewings will be at the discretion of the on-call mortuary technician and depending where they are located at the time. There may be a delay due to travelling time between hospital sites.

 

When might a death be referred to HM Coroner?

Occasionally deaths in hospital or at home are referred to HM Coroner.

This may be because:

  • The cause of death is unknown.
  • The person’s death was violent, unnatural, or related to an injury in the past.
  • The person’s death was sudden and unexplained.
  • The person who died was not visited by a medical practitioner during their final illness.
  • The medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD) is not available.
  • The person who died was not seen by the doctor who signed the MCCD within the 28 days before death or after they died.
  • The person’s death occurred during an operation or before the person came out of anaesthetic.
  • The MCCD suggests the death may have been caused by an industrial disease or industrial poisoning.

HM Coroner will decide on the following outcomes;

  • HM Coroner agrees the cause of death proposed by the doctor
  • The Medical Examiner Officer will contact you to notify you of this decision, will send the MCCD to the registrars and provide you with the contact number for the registrars.
  • HM Coroner may need further information in order to conclusively establish a cause of death. This will be in the form of an inquest or post mortem.
  • In these circumstances the medical team at the hospital will not produce the MCCD.  Coroner’s Officers will be in touch with you to provide further advise relating to HM Coroner cases.

 

Registration of death

Once the MCCD has been completed and scanned to the registrar, the death can be registered. All deaths must be registered with the registrar usually within five days of the death. It is the responsibility of the hospital to ensure the MCCD is completed in a timely manner to enable this.

If the death has been referred to the coroner it cannot be registered until the coroner's investigations are complete and a certificate has been issued allowing registration to take place.

You can register the death at the most convenient registrar for you in England and Wales. We advise registering the death closest to where the person died, this is because if you register in the area where the death took place you will be given the documents you need on the day.

If you register elsewhere they will note the information needed for the registration and will liaise with the registrar in the area where the person died. This may take some time.

 

You will be guided by the Medical Examiner Officer on when and how to make an appointment to register the death.

More information is available on the website:

www.northumberland.gov.uk

More information is available on the website:

www.my.northtyneside.gov.uk

It is very difficult to let everyone know about the death of someone close to you. Friends and family will be your priority, but there are other people, companies and other organisations who may need to be informed of the death in due course. The registrar can also provide you with details of the ‘Tell Us Once’ service which informs

central government and local authorities of a death.

There will be a charge for each certificate issued. We advise you request at least two copies of the death certificate. This will enable you to keep a copy and have a copy to provide for insurances, pension claims or other financial matters.

 

Who should register a death?

  • A relative should register the death.
  • If a relative cannot register the death, you can do it if you were there at the time of death, are an administrator from the hospital (if the person died in hospital), or you are in charge of making funeral arrangements.

 

What you need to do:

  • Ensure the hospital have scanned through the medical certificate showing the cause of death, signed by a doctor.

 

Only if available, also take the person’s:

• birth certificate

• council tax bill

• driving licence

• marriage or civil partnership certificate

• NHS medical card

• passport

• proof of address, e.g. utility bill

 

You’ll need to tell the registrar:

• the person’s full name at the time of death

• any names previously used, e.g. maiden name

• the person’s date and place of birth

• their last address

• their occupation

• the full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving or late spouse or civil partner

• whether they were getting a State Pension or any other benefits

You should also take supporting documents that show your name and address, e.g. a utility bill, but you can still register a death without them.

 

When you register a death, the registrar will give you:

• a Certificate for Burial or Cremation, the ‘green form’, which gives

permission for burial or an application for cremation

• a Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8) - you may need to

fill this out and return it if the person was getting a State Pension or

benefits. The form will come with a pre-paid envelope so you know

where to send it

You can buy extra death certificates - these will be needed for sorting

out the person’s affairs.

 

Funeral arrangements

You can contact a funeral director or company of your choice at any time. They will contact the hospital to make the necessary arrangements in accordance with your wishes. You may prefer not to use funeral directors and may choose to make other arrangements as long as this is within the law.

It may be helpful to think about preferences regarding the funeral service, for example hymns, flowers, religious/non-religious ceremony prior to meeting with the funeral director.

 

Book of remembrance

At The Northumbria, North Tyneside, Hexham and Wansbeck general hospitals there are books and pages of remembrance. These books are available to view.

If you would like to have a name entered in the book, there is no charge for this, please contact the chaplaincy department: chaplaincy@nhct.nhs.ukor via the hospital switchboard 0344 811 8111

 

Further help during this time:

Many people during a time of grief and bereavement struggle and feel they are not coping. These feelings are often within the normal range of grieving that is to be expected and most find ways of coping.

However, there are some who may need further support especially if the death of someone close to them has been complex or traumatic. The following information is not exhaustive but intended to signpost you to organisations you may find helpful. Your G.P. and others within your local healthcare practice may be able to support you further as needed.

Organisations which offer support include:

 

The Macmillan Support Services provides emotional and social support to adults following any bereavement. To find out more information please contact the local offices on:

North Tyneside 0191 293 4377

Northumberland 0167 085 5533

http://www.macmillan.org.uk

 

Citizens Advice Bureau Advice line:

03444 111 444

http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk

 

Samaritans

Offer a confidential 24 hour emotional support service. Whatever you're going through, call free any time, from any phone on: 116 123.

http://www.samaritans.org

 

Cruse Bereavement Care

National Helpline: 0808 808 1677

Offers support after the death of someone close. The helpline is open

Monday-Friday 9.30-5pm (excluding bank holidays), with extended

hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, until 8pm.

https://www.cruse.org.uk/

GOV.UK https://www.gov.uk/after-a-death

GOV.UK https://www.gov.uk/death-spouse-benefits-tax-pension

 

Age UK

Information and advice for older people.

National information line: 0800 055 6112

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/

 

 

Support after suicide:

 

SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide) Helpline – open

9am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 0300 111 5065

https://uksobs.org/

 

SASP

https://www.supportaftersuicide.org.uk/

 

Dying Matters

https://www.dyingmatters.org/page/dealing-sudden-or-violentdeath

https://www.dyingmatters.org/overview/need-support

 

Support for Young People:

https://www.cruse.org.uk/children

 

Marie Curie

https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/help/support/bereavedfamilyfriends/

supporting-grieving-child/grief-affect-child

Support and advice for people caring for child who has experienced a

bereavement.

 

Child Bereavement UK

Offers support and resources for families where a child or young

person has died.

Support team tel: 08000288840 open 9.00 to 5.00 Monday to Friday.

email: support@childbereavementuk.org

 

Natural Death Centre Charity: http://www.naturaldeath.org.uk/

Help, support, advice and guidance for planning a funeral

 

Contact details for further information and support:

 

 

Medical Examiner Offices

The Northumbria, Cramlington                  0191 607 2271

North Tyneside General Hospital              0191 293 4390

Hexham General Hospital                         0143 465 5307

Wansbeck General Hospital                      0167 052 9399

 

Cashier (property)

The Northumbria, Cramlington                  0191 607 2078

North Tyneside General Hospital              0191 293 2742

Hexham General Hospital                          0143 465 5681

Wansbeck General Hospital                      0167 052 9940

 

Chaplains

The Northumbria, Cramlington                  0191 607 2270

North Tyneside General Hospital              0191 293 4268

Hexham General Hospital                          0143 465 5075

Wansbeck General Hospital                      0167 052 9690

 

Coroners’ offices

Northumberland                                           01670 622600

North Tyneside                                             0191 211 5041

 

PALS

northoftynepals@nhct.nhs.uk0800 0320202

 

Registrars

Northumberland Office                               0345 600 6400

North Tyneside Office                                 0191 643 6164

(Please note, the Medical Examiner Officer will advise you on when to contact the registrar to arrange an appointment to register the death)

Referrals are usually made via a health professional such as GP (General Practitioner), Community Nurse, Hospital Consultant or Specialist Nurse. Once a patient, their relative or carer is contacted by a member of the Palliative Care Team they will be given the appropriate communication details for future use.