End of life care

Care in a care home

You can receive end of life care in a care home, if you wish. Here, trained staff are available to look after you day and night. They can provide the same type of care that family members can provide at home, such as help with washing, dressing and providing meals.

Some care homes provide skilled nursing care to residents when they need it. These are sometimes called nursing homes, and they are suitable for people who have a disability, a serious long-term condition or very restricted mobility.

Care homes can be run by: 

  • voluntary organisations
  • private individuals
  • private companies
  • the local council

Care homes near you

You can talk to your local social services department, GP or district nurse, palliative care team or your hospital doctor or nurse to find out what is available in your area.

When considering a care home, you should ask about its experience and support in providing end of life care.

Questions to ask include: 

  • What does the Care Quality Commission (CQC) say about its service?
  • Do the care home staff receive regular end of life care training?
  • What are the arrangements for care and support from the GP and community nurses, both for routine care and for emergencies?
  • Does the care home participate in a service improvement programme run by local health or social care services?
  • Is the care home accredited for the quality of its service, such as the Gold Standards Framework or other accreditation systems?

Your care may involve the local hospital's palliative care team, the local hospice team, your GP, community nurses and district nurses.

You can search for care homes in your area with the CQC's care homes directory.

Paying for your care

If you are relying on local authority funding, you will not be able to be cared for in a home that costs more than the authority is prepared to pay, unless you or your family can pay the difference.

If you choose to receive care at home, in a care home, or in a hospice, you should be assessed for NHS continuing care.

Continuing care is professional care given to meet the physical or mental health needs of adults with a disability, injury or illness over an extended period of time.

NHS continuing healthcare means a package of care that is arranged and funded by the NHS and is free of charge to the person receiving the care. This is sometimes called "fully funded NHS care". 

Read more about what you can expect from end of life care.

Page last reviewed: 09/07/2015

Next review due: 09/07/2017

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