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At Ardgowan Hospice, our mission is to work with health, social care and education professionals to ensure we offer the highest quality of care to the Inverclyde community.

We work together to to improve the quality of life for patients by enhancing their physical, emotional, social and spiritual care and we also offer support to families, carers, children and young people who are affected by life limiting illness.

Our team of specialist doctors, nurses, therapists, counsellors, family support workers and volunteers, care for and support patients in their homes, at other places of care, and here at the hospice

We are also available 24 hours a day for medical and nursing advice by calling us on 01475 726830.

To ensure we deliver the best care for the people we support, the team here at Ardgowan Hospice are committed to enhancing their skills and knowledge of palliative care, and they also work with other health and social care professionals involved with palliative care to enhance their experience too. We also participate in research and development to improve our knowledge and that of the wider community.

If you are a medical professional and wish to refer a patient to an Ardgowan service, please follow the steps below. Please click the drop-down boxes at the foot of this page to learn more about how we can help.

Medical professionals can make a referral via the SCI Gateway!

Our multi-disciplinary team will agree on which service will assess your patient in the first instance based on the information you provide on the referral form. Please provide as much detail as possible on the form to assist us with this and to help avoid any possible delay.

For further support on referrals please contact our Clinical Admin Team on 01475 726830 Ext 2227 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or for referrals outside these times, call the Duty Room on 01475 726830 where the case will be referred to medical staff for a decision and must be followed up with a completed referral form as soon as possible using the recommended routes.

To assist in identifying suitable patients for referral, you can download the SPICT tool from this link. You can follow the GAEL guidance or use the SPAR tool from the following links:




Example of how to use SPAR

Resources you may find useful:
Scottish Palliative Care Guidelines

To find out more about our day services, please email

Which patients we can support

We support:
–  adults with an active, progressive, life limiting condition. For example: end stage heart, lung, renal, liver failure, progressive neurological conditions, malignancy.
–  adults who have Specialist Palliative Care needs: severe, complex or enduring symptoms, physical, psychological, social or spiritual, that are not responding to advice set out in the Scottish Palliative Care Guidelines.
–  family and carers supporting your patient.
–  children and young people who could benefit from additional support pre or post bereavement.

Why you should refer patients for hospice care and support

We can:
–  help you to achieve the best outcome for patients.
–  use the members of our MDT to provide holistic assessment of the patient’s needs.
–  improve patient and family understanding of the condition by spending time exploring information needs and answering questions they may have.
–  help to reduce anxiety and fear about their future.
–  help patients to feel more in control again by supporting them to plan for their future care.
–  potentially reduce inappropriate hospital admissions and emergency GP consultations.

When to refer patients

Evidence suggest patients benefit more when referred to specialist palliative care earlier:
–  patients don’t need to be dying or “at that stage”.
–  our team can work alongside other illness specific teams, even when the patient is being actively treated by them.
–  earlier referral provides patients the opportunity to familiarise themselves with Hospice support and for relationships to be established before need is overwhelming.
–  it is often easier to delay than to reverse a decline in function.

How we will support patients

We can offer:
–  flexibility in where, when and how we support each individual.
–  one to one emotional, practical and physical support from our dedicated multi-disciplinary team.
–  intervention to try to improve and maintain quality of life and functional status for as long as possible.
–  access to the multidisciplinary team earlier which has the potential to increase survival in some cases.
–  support in decision making at key points in their illness and the option to discuss preferences and to plan for future care.

Where we support patients

We support patients in a variety of settings:
–  our Access building where patients, families and carers can access a variety of services.
–  in the patient’s own home.
–  in care homes.
–  at our In-Patient Unit in our Nelson Street building.
–  we can help patients travel to and from hospital appointments via our Patient Transport Service.
–  our consultants also provide support in Inverclyde Royal Hospital.

Managing patient expectations

There are many mis-conceptions and patients are often anxious about referral to palliative care. This can be alleviated by:
–  explaining the rationale for their referral and the potential benefits of supportive care.
–  using the more acceptable term ‘Supportive Care’ rather than Palliative Care. This is more descriptive, especially for early referral where support is the main aim.
–  reassuring the patient that they will have control over decisions made regarding their care.
–  explaining that we will look at all aspects of their issues to ensure the best outcome.
–  reassuring that the absence of a Macmillan Nurse service in Inverclyde will not compromise their care as Ardgowan Community Nurse Specialists provide a similar service assessing and supporting patients at home, and liaising with other health professionals involved.