This guideline covers organising and delivering end of life care services, which provide care and support in the final weeks and months of life (or for some conditions, years), and the planning and preparation for this. It aims to ensure that people have access to the care that they want and need in all care settings. It also includes advice on services for carers.

This guideline is intended to be used alongside the NICE guideline on care of dying adults in the last days of life, which covers clinical care for people who are considered to be in the last days of life.

NICE has also produced a guideline on end of life care for infants, children and young people with life-limiting conditions.

Recommendations

This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Commissioners, planners and coordinators of health and social services
  • Providers of health and social care
  • Health and social care practitioners
  • Adults approaching the end of their life, their carers and families

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian. 

All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.


Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)