Acute care resource: End-of-life care in the acute care setting

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It can be difficult to deliver high-quality end-of-life (EOL) care in acute environments, despite the willingness of staff to do so. The aim of this resource is to support the acute and general physician in improving the care and choices available to people at the end of life, or approaching the end of life, who are seen in the acute care setting.

Acute admissions are an opportunity to identify patients in time to make a real difference to their end-of-life care. Identifying that someone is approaching the end of life is challenging, as is offering them a conversation about treatment choices for the future. It is important to ensure that EOL care for patients is individualised and to recognise that every patient will have different priorities in how their EOL care is managed. This resource provides:

  • guidance on how to identify people in the last year of life
  • suggestions for starting a conversation about EOL care
  • advice on clinical management of the dying patient
  • guidelines on anticipatory prescribing for the dying patient
  • recommendations for professional development in EOL care.

An RCP educational slideset containing the key learning points from the resource is also available to download.