End of life care
This guide is for people who are approaching the end of their life. Some parts of it may also be useful for people who are caring for someone who is dying, or people who want to plan in advance for their own end of life care.
It covers what to expect, thinking about your wishes for your future care, and looking after your emotional and psychological wellbeing.
What you can expect from end of life care
This section contains information about what end of life care involves and when it starts and things you may want to think about.
Planning ahead for the end of life
This is sometimes called advance care planning, and involves thinking and talking about your wishes for how you're cared for in the final months of your life. This can include treatments you do not want to have.
Planning ahead like this can help you let people know your wishes and feelings while you're still able to. Letting your family know about your wishes could help them if they ever have to make decisions about your care.
These links take you to more information on:
Why plan ahead: how you and your family, friends and carers can benefit from planning ahead for your future care.
Advance statement: find out what an advance statement is, and how you can create one to let people know your wishes.
Advance decision to refuse treatment: if you do not want certain kinds of treatment in the future, you can make a legally binding advance decision.
Lasting power of attorney: find out how you can legally appoint someone to make decisions about your care in the future if you become unable to make decisions yourself.
Making a will: GOV.UK information on how to make a will.
Looking after your health and wellbeing is important when you're living with a terminal (life-limiting) condition.
These pages aim to answer questions you may have about pain and other symptoms, and provide ideas for coping:
Coping with a terminal illness: information, sources of support and tips from experts on how to cope with a terminal diagnosis.
Ways to start talking about the fact you are dying: ideas on how to bring up the topic of your illness and the future.
Physical changes in the last hours and days: talks about changes to your body that may happen in the last stages of life.
Video: end of life care
In this video, a family share their experience of end of life care for their wife and mother.
Media review due: 19 October 2023
Page last reviewed: 20 June 2018
Next review due: 20 June 2021