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End of life care

We believe that every person should experience a dignified, respectful and comfortable end to their life


Our caring and compassionate colleagues are trained to provide sensitive, fully personalised end of life care

What is end of life care?

End of life care supports people nearing the last months, weeks and days of their lives. It embraces the needs of the individual, and important family and friends, to ensure they are as comfortable and peaceful as possible during this important time.

The stages of end of life care

At Care UK, our teams are committed to delivering the highest possible standard of well-coordinated, quality end of life care. Good quality end of life care must be personalised to each individual.

The duration of end of life care will depend on your loved one’s unique circumstances. People are considered by the NHS to be approaching the end of life when they are likely to die within the next 12 months. Depending on the person’s condition, end of life care can last for a few days, months or sometimes more than a year.

The NHS North West’s Model for Life Limiting Conditions outlines five stages of end of life care:

  1. Stable (symptoms are treatable)
  2. Gradual decline (months to weeks)
  3. Rapid decline (days to hours) 
  4.  Last days of life and death
  5. Care after death (bereavement)

Personalised end of life care plans


We work with you and your loved one, as well as local health professionals and hospice teams, to create an end of life care plan. This ensures that every aspect of the care your loved one receives in their last weeks and days – from the way their room is arranged, to the pain and symptom relief they receive – is tailored to their needs and wishes.

Many Care UK homes have received or are working towards accreditation with the Gold Standards Framework, a national training programme that provides guidance on the highest standards of person-centred end of life care for residents and their families. One of the framework’s aims is to ensure care home teams offer residents greater freedom of choice about the end of life care pathways available to them.

Our teams deliver person-centred end of life care in line with the Gold Standards Framework by ensuring:

  • You are treated as an individual and always with dignity and respect. 
  • Your views and wishes, and those of your family and carers, are listened to. 
  • You have freedom of choice and control over where and how you receive your care.
  • You can discuss your preferences with us at any time and have them recorded in an advance care plan. 
  • Where possible, we will anticipate and manage your physical symptoms before they cause problems. 
  • You will always feel supported and informed. 
  • Any potential problems are anticipated and reduced, and colleagues can give you the right care at the right time and in the right way. 
  • Your family or carers also feel informed, involved in your care, and supported as much as possible. 
  • Our teams, the GP, primary care and specialist palliative care team work well together to provide the best possible care for you. 
  • You can live the final years of your life as comfortably and happily as possible, just as you’d wish.

Providing the best level of comfort

By working with residents’ agreed end of life care plans, our teams provide compassionate care that removes as much stress and discomfort as possible for residents and family members. 

Our aim, in line with the Gold Standards Framework, is to reduce hospital admissions in the final stage of life, enabling more people to die with dignity in their care home if that is their wish.

Medication options

When older people approach the end of their life, they may stop taking medications for conditions they have, especially if they are not helping them to stay comfortable. 

New medications may also be introduced to support them to be as comfortable as possible. These will help to manage symptoms like pain, breathlessness, nausea, anxiety or agitation. Our teams will carry out regular checks to manage symptoms and any side effects.

Nursing specialisms

All nurses are trained to provide sensitive end of life care, but some specialise in palliative care. The role of a palliative care nurse is to improve the quality of life for people living with a lifelong illness. They provide physical and emotional support to individuals and their families, including monitoring symptoms, helping with medication, coordinating communication, signposting support and assisting with personal care and mobility issues. 

There are also nurses that specialise in certain diseases, like cancer, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.

Care UK’s nurses receive ongoing training and support to provide the highest quality end of life care for residents.

What is palliative care?

End of life care is a form of palliative care. Palliative care is specialised support for people living with an illness that can’t be cured. Its aims are to make people as comfortable as possible and support them to live an active life for as long as they can.

Palliative care’s holistic range of treatments encompass emotional, physical and practical needs. It involves everything from spiritual support to managing pain and from advice for planning for the future to counselling for families.

People typically receive palliative care for chronic conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease or diabetes, or progressive conditions like dementia or Parkinson’s disease.

Palliative care is not the same as end of life care, as it can be offered to people at any stage of living with a lifelong illness.

Find out more about how we provide palliative care.

Do you have more questions about end of life care? Get in touch with your local care home for more information. 

Use the find a care home search tool to find a care home near you.