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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)

£18,545 Starter


£24,881 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

41 to 43 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

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. Courses include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support
  • T Level in Health

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level

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, 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

More Information


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 also find relevant volunteering opportunities through The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Do IT.

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 careers in healthcare from Health Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

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

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As part of your day-to-day duties, you could:

  • apply simple wound dressings
  • give medication
  • change medical equipment like catheters
  • make sure equipment is cleaned and stored correctly
  • support people and their family to cope with their emotional wellbeing
  • care for the person's body after death
  • update patient records

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital, at a hospice, at an adult care home or at a client's home.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience and training, you could become a senior healthcare assistant.

You could take additional training as an assistant practitioner for other healthcare roles like:

  • chiropody or podiatry
  • occupational therapy
  • radiography
  • physiotherapy

You could also train as a health professional like a nurse, midwife or physiotherapist.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Healthcare Apprentice

  • Wage: £19,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Warwick Bridge, Carlisle, Cumbria

Apprentice Social Care Advisor (Gateway to Care)

  • Wage: £9,254.44 to £18,278.00 Annually
  • Location: Halifax

Courses In England

Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support

  • Start date: 04 September 2023
  • Location: Oldham

CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support PT

  • Start date: 18 September 2023
  • Location: Darlington

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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