End of life care

Information and advice on what to think about when you are nearing the end of your life.

End of life care can support you if you are approaching death. It helps you to live as well as possible until you die and to die with dignity. It also includes support for your family or carers.

You can receive end of life care at home, in a care home, in a hospice or in hospital. It should begin when you need it and may last a few days, or for months or years.

NHS Choices (opens in a new window) has a guide to end of life care. 

Marie Curie (opens in a new window) has information, advice and support for people with a terminal illness.

Dying Matters (opens in a new window) has information for people in the last years of life, their families, carers and friends.

Planning ahead (advance care planning and Advance Decisions)

You may have specific wishes about your future care or medical treatment. Your condition might mean that you will not always be able to make your own decisions, so it is a good idea to talk about what you want with your family, carers and doctor. This is called advance care planning.

Anyone can plan for their future care, whether they are approaching the end of life or not. Advance care planning can let people know your wishes and feelings while you're still able to make your own decisions. It does not have to be in writing unless you're making an Advance Decision to refuse treatment. However, you may find that writing your wishes down makes it easier for people to understand and stick to them. You can include things such as:

  • where you would like to be looked after, such as at home, in hospital, in a hospice or in a nursing home
  • who you would like to look after you at the end of your life and where you would like to be
  • your views on any particular treatments or types of care
  • any religious or spiritual beliefs you would like to be taken into account

The Gold Standard Framework has a  5-step video guide (opens in a new window) about advance care planning.

Marie Curie (opens in a new window) has information about planning ahead and things you should think about, including talking about your wishes for how you are cared for in the final months of your life.

My Decisions (opens in a new window) is a free and simple website where you can create an Advance Decision document to print, sign, have witnessed and share.

We have information about mental capacity including setting up a Power of Attorney. You may also want to think about  making a will (opens in a new window).


Hospices provide care for people from the point at which their illness is diagnosed as terminal, to the end of their life. Hospice care can provide medical, emotional, social, practical, psychological and spiritual support. They also support your family and friends.

There are four hospices in Dorset:


We have information on bereavement and have a directory of bereavement services that can support you and your family.

Information for carers

There is information available for carers (opens in a new window) about support that is available and things to think about when your caring role ends.

Page last updated: 17/08/2021 07:50