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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)

£22,000 Starter

to

£28,000 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 Palliative care assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

College

You could do a college course to learn some of the skills you'll need as a palliative care assistant. 

You could do a Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support or a 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

Apprenticeship

You could do a Healthcare Support Worker Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship which usually takes one year to complete.

You could also do the Lead Adult Care Worker Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship which usually takes a year and 6 months to complete.

As an apprentice, you'll do training on the job 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

Volunteering

You'll find it useful to get some work experience in healthcare.

You can also find volunteering opportunities through The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and Do IT.

Direct Application

You could apply directly to become a palliative care assistant.

You might not need any formal qualifications, but it could help your application if you have:

  • GCSEs grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths
  • a level 2 qualification in health and social care, like a certificate, diploma, GCSE or NVQ
  • a good understanding of end of life care, or palliative care

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

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 a palliative care assistant you could:

  • apply simple wound dressings and give medication
  • change medical equipment like catheters and make sure equipment is cleaned and stored correctly
  • support the emotional wellbeing of a patient and their family
  • 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 also take additional training and move into other healthcare roles like:

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

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Lifestyle Co-ordinator

  • Wage: £12,012 a year Annually
  • Location: Barrow

Health and Social Care Apprentice

  • Wage: £13,312 a year Annually
  • Location: Ipswich

Courses In England

Healthcare Support Diploma

  • Provider: SOUTH DEVON COLLEGE
  • Start date: 10 March 2025
  • Location: Paignton

Healthcare Support NCFE Level 3 Diploma

  • Provider: DN COLLEGES GROUP
  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Scunthorpe

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