How to request our help

How do people get help from the hospice?

Patients access St Helena Hospice services by referral

How are people referred to St Helena Hospice?

Most commonly, referrals are made by doctors, nurses, carers or other professionals dealing with a patient’s condition. People can make self-referrals as well as family members for loved ones.

Referrals can be made via the hospice referral form which can be found below. Please email the completed form to shh.singlepoint@nhs.net 


A referral form can be faxed to the referrer directly from the hospice. The referral form can be completed by doctors, nurses, carers or the patient. If a patient or carer makes a referral, the triage nurse will seek the patient's permission to get more information from their medical team. The St Helena Hospice fax number, if required, is 01206 843294.

Telephone referrals

Telephoned referrals are also accepted and encouraged. Our SinglePoint service takes all telephone referrals on 01206 890360 and they are very happy to discuss any referral and to help clarify if we are the right service to help. If you are a self-referring patient, we encourage you to use this service as we will be able to complete the referral with you over the telephone. SinglePoint will need to have your permission to obtain more information from your medical team.

After an initial assessment, our team will work with the patient and their family to agree a plan that will form the basis of our support. This support plan will be reviewed on a regular basis. For example, support might take the form of home visits from a Clinical Nurse Specialist and/or a Family Support Worker, or it could be that our Therapies and Wellbeing service is more appropriate.

The hospice team provide ‘Palliative Care’ which consists of people from many specialist areas that come together to offer support and comfort to patients and their families or carers; not all of our hospice team are from a medical background but all are dedicated to helping patients to get the most out of life.

Who can be referred to the hospice?

Anyone over the age of 16 with complex problems related to an advanced, progressive, life-limiting or incurable illness can be referred to the hospice. Complex problems may include:

  • Difficult symptoms, such as severe pain or breathlessness.
  • Difficult emotional symptoms such as fear, anger or distress related to a life-limiting diagnosis.
  • Family anxiety and distress related to a life-limiting diagnosis.
  • Complex social issues and spiritual distress.

Any referral to St Helena Hospice must be made with the patient’s knowledge and agreement. If any issues of mental capacity exists (for example the patient is confused) and the patient is unable to consent to referral, this would not be a barrier to accessing our services.

What happens next?

Where possible, all newly referred patients are telephoned by a nurse on the day of receiving the referral, or if not, the next working day. This is to make a preliminary assessment of any problems and to establish how quickly a response is needed. We aim to assess all new referrals within 12 working days if they are assessed as routine and within two working days if they are urgent.
Sometimes patients are assessed in their own homes by one of our Clinical Nurse Specialists. Some patients are assessed at an outpatient clinic in either our Joan Tomkins Centre in Colchester or our Tendring Centre in Clacton for specialist palliative care services.

Occasionally, patients are expecting to hear from a Macmillan nurse and are surprised to hear from a St Helena Hospice Clinical Nurse Specialist instead. We do not have any Macmillan nurses based at St Helena Hospice; all of our nurses are employed by St Helena Hospice and not Macmillan Cancer Support. This can lead to confusion; however our CNS team undertake the same role as a Macmillan nurse but with the advantage that they have the backup of the multidisciplinary team based at St Helena Hospice.
For patients whose needs do not require a nurse specialist, help will still be mobilised from our Assistant Nurses and Registered Nurses.

Bereavement referrals

If you are referring yourself or a family member/friend you can do so by calling 01255 258240.
If you wish to make a professional referral, please complete the form below.

Referral form