Palliative care assistants provide specialist end of life care and support to patients and their families.
Salary range: £17,652 to £20,795
How to become a palliative care assistant
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could do a college course to learn some of the skills you need for this job, like a Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You could train towards this role through:
- a healthcare support worker intermediate apprenticeship
- a lead adult care worker advanced apprenticeship
This will usually take 12 months to complete. You’ll do on-the-job training and spend time at a college or training provider.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
Volunteering and experience
Experience, either paid or voluntary in a healthcare role, is usually expected by employers. You can contact the voluntary services co-ordinator or manager at your local NHS trust for more details.
Some employers will also expect you to have a good understanding of end of life care, or palliative care.
You may not need any formal qualifications to start work as a palliative care assistant, but GCSEs grades (A* to C) in English and maths may be useful in helping you to find a job.
Some employers may also want you to have a level 2 qualification in health and social care, like a certificate, diploma, GCSE or NVQ.
You can find out more about becoming a palliative care assistant from Health Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- customer service skills
- knowledge of psychology
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties might include:
- applying simple wound dressings
- giving medication
- changing medical equipment like catheters, when required
- making sure equipment is cleaned and stored correctly
- caring for the person’s body after death
You could work in the community, in an NHS or private hospital or at a hospice.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career path and progression
With experience and training, you could become a senior healthcare assistant.
You could train as an assistant practitioner in chiropody or podiatry, occupational therapy, radiography or physiotherapy.
You could also train as a health professional like a nurse, midwife or physiotherapist.