Quality standard

This quality standard covers care for adults (aged 18 and over) who are approaching the end of their life. This includes people who are likely to die within 12 months, people with advanced, progressive, incurable conditions and people with life-threatening acute conditions. It also covers support for their families and carers. It includes care provided by health and social care staff in all settings. It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement.

In September 2021, this quality standard was updated and replaced the previous version published in 2011. The topic was identified for update following the annual review of quality standards. The review identified changes in the priority areas for improvement and new NICE guidance on end of life care for adults and supporting adult carers.

For more information see update information.

It does not include the care of people in the last days of life, which is covered by NICE’s quality standard on care of dying adults in the last days of life.

How to use NICE quality standards and how we develop them

Quality standards help you improve the quality of care you provide or commission. They apply in England and Wales (see the UK government website and Welsh government website). Decisions on how they apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland are made by ministers in the Scottish government and Northern Ireland Executive.

Find out how to use quality standards and how we develop them. We check our quality standards every August to make sure they are up to date.