Palliative care assistant

Alternative titles for this job include Specialist healthcare assistant

Palliative care assistants provide specialist end of life care and support to patients and their families.

Average salary (a year)

£17,652 Starter


£20,795 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

41 to 43 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information


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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

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.

Direct application

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.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a palliative care assistant from Health Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • 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:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

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.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Clinical Apprentice in Health

  • Wage : £8,212.00 - £15,310.00 Annually
  • Location: Derby DE22 3NE

Level 3 Health and Social Care Apprentice at – High Brake House Clitheroe

  • Wage : £144.30 Weekly
  • Location: Clitheroe BB7 2BD

Courses In England

Palliative Care - Improvers

  • Provider: Bradford College
  • Start date: 24 January 2020
  • Location: Bradford

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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