Thinking about end of life care for you and your family

End of life care is support for people who are in the last months or years of their life. The guidance on the NHS website helps you know what to expect, how to plan ahead and how to manage your day to day decisions.
An elderly women on crutches being helped to walk by a nurse and her daughter

End of life care should help you to live as well as possible until you die and to die with dignity. It includes palliative care so if you have an illness that can't be cured, palliative care makes you as comfortable as possible, by managing your pain and other distressing symptoms.

The guidance on the NHS website provides you with information on what you can expect, the support available, and how to plan ahead.

What you can expect from end of life care

There are a number of things to think about when planning end of life care that makes an already stressful situation, even harder. 

Those that provide your care should ask you about your wishes and preferences, and take these into account as they work with you to plan your care. They should also support your family, carers or other people who are important to you.

Read more 

Three key things to think about

  1. Coping financially
    Ask your GP, hospital doctor or nurse to refer you to a hospital social worker or community social worker to help with your finances. As well as that, you can check if you are eligible for any benefits, or perhaps there are certain charities that can help. 
    Find out more
  2. How you want to be cared for
    Looking after your health and wellbeing is important when you're living with a terminal (life-limiting) condition. Take a look at the advice and information to help you cope with terminal illness and managing pain and stress.
    Find out more
  3. Where you want to be cared for 
    The palliative team will organise your care according to what you want. You can receive end of life care at home, in a care home, in a hospital, in a hospice.
    Find out more

Planning ahead

Planning ahead can help you let people know your wishes and feelings while you're still able to.

This topic can be hard to think about, but by discussing your wishes with your family, you could be saving them from having to help doctors make difficult decisions later on without knowing what you would have wanted.

Find out more 

Organ donation

Organ donation in England has moved to an 'opt out' system. You may also hear it referred to as 'Max and Keira's Law'.

This means that all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.

Your family will still be approached and your faith, beliefs and culture will continue to be respected.

You still have a choice whether or not you wish to become a donor. Get the facts about organ donation to help you decide. 

What do I have to do?

The NHS Organ Donor Register is asking everyone to:

  1. Record your organ donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register
  2. Tell your family and friends what you have decided

Register your decision

If you would like to speak to somebody about your choices, please call their dedicated line: 0300 303 2094

Share your thoughts

You can help make health and care services better by sharing your experiences and ideas. Talk to your local Healthwatch.

Find your nearest Healthwatch