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End of life care

The subject of dying is often painful to think about. You and your relatives should discuss your wishes as you near the end of your life.

Good planning for all your needs should mean that you can (if you choose) remain in your home or care home in your last days and not have to be admitted to hospital.



How do I choose a service?

When choosing a service you should consider its end of life care philosophy and policies.

Enabling people to die in comfort and with dignity is a core part of providing care and the way care professionals approach the process will be incredibly important for you, your family and carers.

All health and social care staff should be trained in communication about end of life care. They should know how to assess your needs and those of your carers.



What should I consider?

Check that:

  • the service has an open approach to end of life care
  • it talks with you and your family and works with your GP. This is to make sure everyone discusses your needs and wishes and they plan for them



How do I outline my wishes?

You should draw up an end of life care plan. It is vital to establish your preferences and choices.

You could use this document to help:

It can help you prepare for the future. You can think about, talk about and write down your preferences and priorities.



What is the gold standards framework?

You can ask care providers whether they are working towards the gold standards framework. It can be used in various places such as:

  • hospitals
  • primary care providers
  • care homes

It helps improve communication and the co-ordination between the organisations that provide end of life care.



What are hospices?

They are skilled at dealing with pain and other symptom control, as well as palliative care.

Most hospices also offer some in-patient services to give carers a break. Many have teams of nurses who can visit you in your own home. All offer counselling for patients, carers and families.

Your GP or hospital team will be able to provide more details about local services.

The NHS Choices web site can help with finding a hospice.

Hospices in Staffordshire




Further information

NHS Choices

See the pages below for more information on end of life care:

Support for carers

The Carers Hub can give information, advice and other services.

Compassionate Communities

This web site aims to help people develop the skills to address issues raised by end of life and other losses. It is a helpful, empathic ear.

Dying Matters

The site promotes awareness of dying, death and bereavement. It was set up by the National Council for Palliative Care. It has a comprehensive support section.

Support for widows and widowers

WidowNet is a self-help resource for you.


Ergsy provides free videos on subjects relevant to the over 60s. There are loads that cover different legal matters such as living wills and lasting power of attorney.

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