What is end of life care?
End-of-life care is support for people who are in the last months or years of their life. End-of-life care should help you to live as well as possible until you die. The people providing your care should ask you about your wishes and your preferred plan of care. They should also offer support to your family members, carers or other people who are important to you.
You have the right to express your wishes about where you would like to receive care and where you want to die. You can receive end-of-life care at home, or in care homes, hospices or hospitals, depending on your needs. People who are approaching the end of life are entitled to high-quality care, wherever they choose to be cared for.
Who provides end of life care?
Different health and social care professionals may be involved in your end-of-life care, depending on your needs.
For example, hospital doctors, nurses, your GP, community nurses, hospice staff and counsellors may all be involved.
Community nurses will usually visit you at home and liaise with us, your family and friends may be closely involved in caring for you too.
When does end of life care begin?
End-of-life care should begin when you need it and may last a few days, or for months or years. People in lots of different situations can benefit from end-of-life care. Some of them may be expected to die within the next few hours or days. Others receive end-of-life care over many months.
People are considered to be approaching the end of life when they are likely to die within the next 12 months, although this isn’t always possible to predict. This includes people whose death is imminent, as well as people who:
-have an advanced incurable illness, such as cancer, dementia or motor neurone disease
-are generally frail and have co-existing conditions that mean they are expected to die within 12 months
-have existing conditions if they are at risk of dying from a crisis in their condition
-have a life-threatening acute condition caused by a sudden catastrophic event, such as an accident or stroke
How do I find out about end of life care services in my area?
If you are approaching the end of life, or caring for someone who is, and you want to find out about the care and support available, we have an End of Life pack you can pick up in surgery. This is made up of local services with support and advice to help you gain all the information you need to make the right decision for you. Please visit the ‘additional services’ page for more information.