Quality standard

About this quality standard

NICE quality standards describe high-priority areas for quality improvement in a defined care or service area. Each standard consists of a prioritised set of specific, concise and measurable statements. NICE quality standards draw on existing NICE or NICE-accredited guidance that provides an underpinning, comprehensive set of recommendations, and are designed to support the measurement of improvement.

Information about how NICE quality standards are developed is available from the NICE website.

See quality standard advisory committees on the website for details of standing committee 4 members who advised on this quality standard. Information about the topic experts invited to join the standing members is available on the webpage for this quality standard.

This quality standard has been included in the NICE Pathway on end of life care for people with life-limiting conditions, which brings together everything we have said on a topic in an interactive flowchart.

NICE has produced a quality standard service improvement template to help providers make an initial assessment of their service compared with a selection of quality statements. This tool is updated monthly to include new quality standards.

NICE produces guidance, standards and information on commissioning and providing high-quality healthcare, social care, and public health services. We have agreements to provide certain NICE services to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Decisions on how NICE guidance and other products apply in those countries are made by ministers in the Welsh government, Scottish government, and Northern Ireland Executive. NICE guidance or other products may include references to organisations or people responsible for commissioning or providing care that may be relevant only to England.

Improving outcomes

This quality standard is expected to contribute to improvements in the following outcomes:

  • recognising that a person is in the last days of life

  • symptom control

  • comfort related to hydration

  • aligning care with the preferences and needs of the dying person and those important to them

  • satisfaction with care and support provided.

It is also expected to support delivery of the Department of Health's outcome frameworks:

Resource impact

NICE quality standards should be achievable by local services. The potential resource impact is considered by the quality standards advisory committee, drawing on resource impact work for the source guidance. Organisations are encouraged to use the resource impact report for the source guidance to help estimate local costs.

Diversity, equality and language

During the development of this quality standard, equality issues were considered and equality assessment for this quality standard are available. Any specific issues identified during development of the quality statements are highlighted in each statement.

Commissioners and providers should aim to achieve the quality standard in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations. Nothing in this quality standard should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-2373-1