Example 1: Carers' experiences of out-of-hours palliative care services

This study was part of a wider project examining developments in out-of-hours palliative care in the Calderdale and Kirklees area of West Yorkshire (see King, Thomas, Bell and Bowes, 2003). "Palliative care" refers to medical and nursing care offered to people with life-limiting illnesses, with the purpose of alleviating suffering and maximising quality of life, rather than attempting to cure the condition. Our research - supported by the former Calderdale and Kirklees Health Authority and the University of Huddersfield - was concerned with community palliative care, provided to patients in their own homes. The main professional responsibility for such care rests with General Practitioners and Community Nurses, though a wide range of other professions may be involved, as well as social care workers. However, crucial to effective palliative care in the home is the care and support provided by informal Carers - usually spouses and/or other close family members.