Never easy, but talking about end of life care, dying and death is an important part of living with illness.

End of life care is the care provided when a person is irreversibly dying, generally the last few weeks or days of life, and around the time of death.  Identifying when end of life care is the best care to provide can be clearer in some illnesses and diseases than others.  End of life care focusses on minimising suffering of patients, families and carers and ensuring best practice wherever the dying person is in the health service system or at home.  Patients, family and carers receive care, whether this is at home, in residential care or hospital.

End of life care is preferably included in advance care planning.

Visit Dying matters, a UK website led by the National Council for Palliative Care, the umbrella charity for end of life care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  This website aims to change public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards dying, death. and bereavement.  They have extensive resources and publications list about dying and death.

Also take a look at the Conversation Project, a US website dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end of life care.  Kits and resources with suggestions for words to ‘break the ice’ when talking to family, friends and health professionals are available from this website.