Clinical Nurse Specialists

People are often surprised to hear that St Clare Hospice cares for more people in their own homes, including nursing and residential homes, than at our centre in Hastingwood.
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Hospice at Home, launched in 2014, is part of our community service. It provides hands-on, palliative care in the last few days of life or during times of crises, when rapid support is needed.

Our care in the community

The front cover of the CNS booklet can be seen with four members of the CNS team pictured smiling at the camera.

Find out more about the comprehensive community service St Clare provides for people in their own homes as well as nursing and residential homes, and community hospitals.

Click here to to read our Clinical Nurse Specialist booklet.

St Clare Clinical Nurse Specialists in Palliative Care

Woman in floral dress sits on a brown sofa with an older woman who is in a pink cardigan. Both are wearing glasses.

Our highly trained St Clare Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) care for people with life-limiting conditions, supporting those with complex needs in their own homes.

They provide specialist advice, as well as emotional and psychological support, to you, your family and those involved in your care. They can help you at different stages of your journey, when you most need it, and can arrange access to other services.

Your St Clare CNS will work closely with your GP, district nurses and all health and social care professionals who are involved in your care, both within the Hospice and externally.

Working in close partnership with all those involved in the care of a person is at the heart of St Clare’s holistic approach to ensure that your individual needs are met.

The community team has three key aims:

  • To improve the outcomes and experience for people with specialist palliative care needs, including psychological, physical, spiritual and social support in their own homes, care homes and other community institutions ensuring an integrated approach
  • To offer people both written and verbal information to meet their needs, empowering patients to make informed decisions about their care and respecting patient choice
  • To support family members and carers in order to maximise their own health and quality of life to enable them to continue with their caring responsibilities

When are the St Clare Clinical Nurse Specialists available?

8am-4pm, 7 days a week, including Bank Holidays. Contact may be by phone or a visit to your home.

Outside of these hours, patients and their families and carers can call the 24 Hour Advice Line for advice.

What are the referral criteria?

Visit How we can help local people for information about how to access our services, our catchment area and referral criteria.

Are the St Clare Clinical Nurse Specialists the same as Macmillan nurses?

No, though they are sometimes mistaken for Macmillan nurses or Marie Curie nurses. Whilst they undertake a similar role to a Macmillan nurse, there are two important differences:

St Clare CNSs are specialists in the palliative care support of all patients with any life-limiting illness that cannot be cured, not just cancer.

St Clare CNSs are employed and funded by St Clare Hospice, not Macmillan Cancer Support.

Can St Clare Clinical Nurse Specialists change a patient’s medication?

They will advise on specialist symptom control and work closely with the GP to ensure you have the right medications to treat your symptoms, but it is the GP who will prescribe the medications that you need.

Do they have to tell my loved one their diagnosis?

St Clare CNSs will answer all your loved one’s questions openly and honestly, using their expertise to give information in a way they can understand. Usually a person already knows their diagnosis prior to referral to St Clare Hospice.

How long will I receive support from the St Clare Clinical Nurse Specialists?

St Clare CNSs will support you until the specialist palliative symptoms for which you have been referred have been addressed.

At this point, you may be discharged from the service to the care of your GP or District Nurse, or be referred to another St Clare Hospice service for continuing support, such as our Day Therapy.  This will all be in agreements with the you and your family.

If your palliative care needs change, your GP or District Nurse can re-refer you to St Clare Hospice. Alternatively, you can make a self-referral by calling the St Clare Clinical Nurse Specialists.