Definitions – End of life care

End of life care:

National Council for Palliative Care

End of life care that helps all those with advanced, progressive, incurable illness to live as well as possible until they die. It enables the supportive and palliative care needs of both the patient and their family to be identified and met through the last phase of life and into bereavement. It includes management of pain and other symptoms and provision of psychological, social, spiritual and practical support.

Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care

End of life care is that part of palliative care which should follow from the diagnosis of a patient entering the process of dying, whether or not he or she is already in receipt of palliative care. This phase could vary between months, weeks, days or hours in the context of different disease trajectories. There can be uncertainty involved in identifying when someone might be expected to die – illness can be unpredictable, and changes can occur suddenly and unexpectedly.

For the purpose of claiming welfare benefits for people with a terminal illness, the end of life care period  is defined as: 'a death is expected within six months'. However any timescale is hard to predict.  Benefits can be fast tracked.