Health and Social Care
8. How can I access specialist palliative care services?
Palliative care aims to help patients with life-threatening illnesses, and their families to achieve the best possible quality of life. This might include:
• Helping you to live as actively as possible
• Taking account of your emotional, social and spiritual needs, alongside your physical
• Supporting you and your family in coping with your illness and the choices you wish to make
• Providing good relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
Your GP or Consultant can refer you to the specialist palliative care services. It is often
useful to make this referral early in your disease so that you can meet members of the
team and fi nd out what they can offer.
The Specialist Palliative Care Team for the Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust is based in Musgrove Park Hospital. There is also a Palliative care team based at Yeovil District Hospital.
Referrals can be made by any medical staff such as GPs or nurses and you or a carer can also request they refer you.
Telephone numbers for the teams can be found below:
Hospital Palliative Care Teams
Musgrove Park Hospital,Taunton: 01823 342646
Yeovil District Hospital: 01935 384557
St Margaret’s Somerset Hospice also provide a full range of specialist palliative care services and can be contacted on 0845 070 8910.
9. How can I access a physiotherapist?
If you feel you require rehabilitation from a physiotherapist then this can be accessed through the Intergrated Rehabilitation
Teams . These teams see patients with all diagnoses but do have neuro
rehabilitation skills and support from Clinical Specialist Therapists who specialise in neurorehabilitation.
You can also search for private physiotherapists using the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists website:
10. How can I get help with care for my feet?
Across Somerset there is a Podiatry Service which provides specialist clinicians for foot care and biomechanics and orthotics
assessment. Access to the service is via a GP or other healthcare professional referral.
Once referred you will be seen within 6 weeks or 7 days if urgent.
11. Is there anyone who can help with returning home after a stay in hospital?
Somerset County Council fund the British Red Cross to offer a Home from Hospital Service.
The service volunteers van can give short-term practical and emotional support to help you get
your confidence back and live independently after a stay in hospital, such as:
• Taking you home and helping you to settle in.
• Shopping for you.
• Collecting prescriptions and pensions.
• Sitting with you if your carer has to go out.
You can access this service by contacting the Home from Hospital Co-ordinator on 01823 273 707 or 0845 3315000.
They can also be contacted at:
Home from Hospital
British Red Cross
Red Cross House
Taunton TA2 6BD
There is no charge for this service.
12. Is there anyone who can co-ordinate my social care needs?
Co-ordination of your social care (i.e. the support you need around the home to
undertake daily activities) can be provided by Somerset Direct. To discuss your care needs, contact Adult Social Care via Somerset Direct at the County Council by calling 0300 123 2224.
If you are in regular contact with a specialist nurse or therapist, they should have the overall picture about the care that you are receiving, and will be able to liaise with other health professionals as required.
13. How can I access specialist continence services?
Somerset Partnership NHS Trust offers a specialist continence service across Somerset.
They can offer advice and:
• carry out a detailed assessment and offer treatment/management options based on your individual needs
• offer you an individual care plan and promote self-care wherever possible
• give you a choice of a range of patient literature – for example pelvic floor exercises, bladder training
• provide education/ training to individuals, carers, external agencies
The service accepts self-referrals by calling 01935 848247. Your GP, health care
professional or carer can also refer you if necessary.
Whether or not you will receive free incontinence products such as pads and mattress protectors via the NHS will depend on the assessment of your needs, the specialist continence team can give you further information on this. You can
also ask your GP or other healthcare provider to assess you. If eligible the products will be delivered direct to you.
Should you not be eligible you can buy VAT reduced incontinence products from chemists,
supermarkets or online. For further information visit the bladder and bowel foundation website http://www.bladderandbowelfoundation.org or call their helpline on 0845 345 0165. You can also visit the continence
product advisor website http://www.
continenceproductadvisor.org which offers impartial, up to date advice on the best
products and where to obtain them.
The Radar National Key Scheme key offers disabled people independent access to the 9,000 accessible locked toilets around the country. Radar keys are available from Compass Disability. Orders can be placed by calling 01823 282823.
14. How do I get a Wheelchair? Will I have to pay for it?
If you need a wheelchair for long-term use (minimum four times a week for more than six months) and have a permanent disability, ask your GP to refer you to the wheelchair and seating service. This service provides wheelchairs, pressure cushions and specialist seating to all registered with a GP across Devon and Somerset. Clients must meet eligibility criteria based on clinical need. Assessments can be undertaken in your home if necessary.
All wheelchairs issued are provided on long-term loan and are maintained free of charge.
The Service operates a voucher scheme which contributes to the cost of a wheelchair of
higher specification, if required. The service is only for long term or permanent wheelchair
Short-term loans can be assessed by Occupational Therapists and are for three months or less.
If you would like to hire a wheelchair on a temporary basis please contact the Medical Equipment Loans Service run by British Red Cross on 0300 123 2224 or 01823 237700.
Or write to:
British Red Cross,
Red Cross House,
If, having undergone your assessment, you find that you are not eligible for a wheelchair from
the above services, and have to buy one, please contact Somerset County Council PALS on: 01823 356274 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on suppliers and help with funding if needed.
15. I am becoming increasingly disabled but wish to continue living independently within my own home.
Are there any services or providers of equipment that could assist? How do I arrange such help?
For all of your care needs and what would enable you to live most independently you can contact Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224.
Somerset County Council have also launched a service to help you look for advice and find equipment from local and national equipment providers to enable you to live more independently within your own home.
The website is called AskSARA and it is a free, guided, self-assessment tool which has been
designed with the Disabled Living Foundation.
You can access the website at www.somerset.gov.uk/asksara
If you do not have access to the internet you can call Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224 who can provide the same advice.
AskSARA details information and gives impartial advice covering areas such as:
• your home environment
• your health
• your daily living activities
For example, if you are having difficulties opening jars, you would select ‘Preparing meals, eating and drinking’ then you would select ‘Opening Jars, tins, packages and bottles’ where you will complete a very brief ‘agree/disagree’ questionnaire which will then provide you with the most appropriate equipment required for your needs which you can then choose to purchase (there is no contribution towards any purchase costs).
There is also a Telecare service providing various sensors and alarms than can alert a 24 hour care line where trained carers can take
the necessary steps to help you (such as call a relative or alert emergency services). Contact your local Community Alarm Service provider for further details about the various equipment available to you and the costs – some equipment may be free of charge or subsidised.
Taunton Deane Borough Council, Control
Centre, Kilkenny Court,
Telephone: 01823 257185
South Somerset Careline
South Somerset District Council, Petters
House, Petters Way,
Sedgemoor District Council, Bridgwater
House, Kings Square,
Telephone: 01278 435776
Aster Living, Flourish House, 2 Cathedral
Telephone: 0333 400 8222
Magna West Somerset
St Peter’s House, Bridge Street,
0800 138 6107
19. Who would help me record an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (ADRT)?
If you wish to record an ADRT it is strongly advisable to talk through all relevant treatments with the health professional leading your care so that you are fully aware of your condition, the treatments and what they do.
To complete an ADRT you MUST be over 18 years of age and have the mental capacity to do so. They can be verbal or written down but if you wish to refuse treatment that will save your life then this MUST be written down, signed by yourself and witnessed. There are numerous organisations that can offer advice and help with ADRTs.
The NHS provide information on their website at http://www.nhs.uk/Planners/end-of-lifecare/
In addition, some of the neurological support organisations have information about ADRTs which can be sent to you or downloaded from the internet, e.g. the Motor Neurone Disease
Association produces a very good standard form on which you can record any Advance Decisions to refuse treatment. If you would like a copy you can download it at:
Or you can phone 08457 626262 or e-mail email@example.com
There is also a website www.adrtnhs.co.uk with comprehensive information.
20. I cannot access my dentist’s surgery anymore. Where can I get NHS dental care in an accessible setting?
Details of local dental services and particularly those with accessible facilities and those dentists willing to provide domiciliary dental services can be found by contacting the Somerset Dental Helpline on 0300 123 7691.
Alternatively you can contact the service via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org