St John's' social worker, Zippy, visits a client at home to offer practical support.

Social and welfare support

Our palliative care social workers are here to help you with any anxieties or concerns you and those close to you may have. We can provide you with emotional and practical support, such as supporting you with benefits, housing, financial matters, Wills and power of attorney.

Supporting you and those close to you

We recognise the impact that living with a life-limiting illness can have on you and those close to you. We understand that life will change from the point of your diagnosis and recognise that this can be confusing, overwhelming and at times frightening.

Our team of palliative care social workers are here to help with any of the anxieties or concerns you and those close to you may have. Our role is to listen, understand your needs and provide you with the support, information and advice to ensure those needs are met.

This can include providing emotional and practical support, such as giving you advice on Lasting Powers of Attorney, Will writing and funeral planning, as well as signposting to relevant agencies if further assistance is required. We can also advocate on your behalf with financial and housing matters or with social services input. We provide our support online, over the phone, at our hospice in St John’s Wood or by visiting you at home.

What we can offer you

  • Emotional support helping you and those close to you to adjust to your situation and to have open and honest conversations about your feelings and wishes.
  • Helping next of kin’s going through anticipatory grief.
  • Practical support, information and advice including welfare benefits, housing, and other financial matters. This can include signposting to other services available within the community and helping you to navigate health and social care systems.
  • Referrals to other services within the hospice such as the Day Care Unit, Inpatient Unit, community care and Hospice@Home.
  • Group or individual bereavement support and counselling, as well as support specifically tailored to children and young people.

Who we support

We recognise that illness does not discriminate - it affects people of all ages, genders and backgrounds, of all faiths and no faith. We care for any person living with a life-limiting illness - including cardiac, respiratory, or renal conditions, HIV, cancer, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's - and at different stages of their illness.

We do not exclude people who might have learning disabilities, a history of mental health or substance use. We can also support you if you have no fixed abode or limited immigration status.

All of the care we provide is completely free of charge and available to anyone aged 18 or over living within our service catchment area.

A mother hugs her two children and kisses the head of her daughter who is sat to her left.

“It’s been such a great help.”

“Even though we live in the area I had never heard about St John's before, so having my nurse specialist make that connection to such local services has been a great help.

My social worker has helped with accessing additional financial support, providing information and advice on immigration and just helping us to adjust to our new normal.”


How you can access our support

We welcome referrals for people living with life-limiting illnesses within Westminster. Referrals can be made to us by your GP, hospital doctor, nurse specialist or community nurse or by other professionals working across health and social care services.

If you are a health or social care professional and wish to refer a patient and/or their family members to our services, please download and complete our referral form. The form is available to download below. Please return the completed form by email to

Download the form

Get in touch

If you have any questions about how we can support you and those close to you, please contact us by emailing or calling us on 020 7806 4017.

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