Recognising End-of-Life Care

There are many ways that can assist you in recognising the end-of-life. Think about some of these ideas.
  • Think about all the patients in your care today. Ask the ‘surprise’ question about each patient. 
    The ‘surprise’ question: Would you be surprised if this patient dies within the next few months/weeks/days?
    Is it time to initiate a conversation about end-of-life care?
  • It only takes a minute. Listen to Imogen Mtichell explain why using triggers and tools can help hospital staff recognise end-of-life and start discussing the best care for this patieent.
  • Timing of discussion highlights some points where beginning a conversation may be useful.
  • Recognise the next time a patient uses one of the end-of-life triggers. If the patient wishes, start a conversation about their concerns and preferences. Use active listening and empathy but be honest and do not shy away from using the word ‘dying’ or provide false hope. Make sure their preferences are recorded and shared with other team members.
  • Use SPICT (Supportive and Palliative Care Indicators Tool) to identify patients at risk of deteriorating and dying. The SPICT was developed by The University of Edinburgh for the Scottish NHS.
  • Check your patient is still happy with their care plan. Let them know they can revisit their care plan. A trigger for this might be:
    • the patient raising questions about an aspect of their care,
    • a deterioration in their condition,
    • new symptoms, or
    • when they transition to a terminal phase.
My Toolkit contains ideas, suggestions and other resources to help you maintain your knowledge about end-of-life care and facilitate discussion and engagement in your practice setting. Please find below a checklist with ideas for action and an associated sheet of resources. You can download these resources for use in your workplace.

Download Module 3: Recognising the End-of-Life

Download Checklist (144kb pdf)
Download Resources (157kb pdf)

Download Complete Set

Complete Set of Checklists (825kb pdf)
Complete Set of Resources (1MB pdf)


Last updated 4 April 2018