End of life care involves treatment, care and support for people who are approaching the end of their life. This care should help you to live as well as possible and allow you to die with dignity.
You should be asked about your wishes and preferences, and these will be considered as you plan your care. Your family, carers or other people who are important to you will also be supported.
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 and nurses, your GP, community nurses, hospice staff and counsellors may all be involved, as well as social care staff, chaplains (of all faiths or none), physiotherapists, occupational therapists or complementary therapists.
If you are being cared for at home or in a care home, your GP has overall responsibility for your care.
Community nurses usually visit you at home, and 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.
How do I find out about end of life care services?
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, your first step is to speak to your GP or to call the number your healthcare professionals have given you.