Information for the public
NICE guidelines provide advice on the care and support that should be offered to people who use health and care services.
Providing care for people who are dying, and supporting the people who are important to them, are profoundly important. You might be reading this information if you have found out that you might not have long to live, or you want to plan for how you would like to be cared for during your last days of life. You might also be reading this if someone close to you, such as a member of your family or a close friend, is in the last stages of their life, or may be soon, and you want to know what care they should be getting.
People who are nearing the end of their life are entitled to high‑quality care wherever they are being cared for. It is important that their wishes are respected and they are involved in decisions about their care, whenever possible. Care should be focused on maintaining the person's comfort and dignity, and any symptoms they have should be managed. Some people may have already thought about their care and may have made some decisions and plans for the end of their life.
This information describes the care that people should receive in the last 2 to 3 days of their life (as set out in the NICE guideline on care of dying adults in the last days of life).
You might also like to read NICE's information for the public on patient experience in adult NHS services. This sets out what adults should be able to expect when they use the NHS. We also have more information on the NICE website about using health and social care services.
A range of professionals who have skills and knowledge in different areas of treatment or support may be involved in caring for people during their last days of life. These could include GPs, community nurses, specialist doctors and nurses, hospice staff, care home staff, hospital staff, therapists, pharmacists and social care staff.