This module aims to explore the care of adults in the last few days of life. The focus is on people aged 18 and over, although some of the principles will be transferable to the care of those under 18 years. Rather than being setting-specific, the common and recurrent themes that are applicable to caring for the individual approaching the end of life in all care settings are outlined. The purpose is to explore good end of life care and encourage reflection on how this translates across different care settings. Throughout this module, the words 'person' or 'individual' rather than 'patient' are used. People are referred to differently in different care settings: they are patients in hospital, residents in care homes, and clients, service users and customers in social care. However, irrespective of where they receive care, they remain people with individual needs and circumstances. The case vignettes in this module are taken from the author's professional and personal experiences.
With people being given more choice about where to die, it is important that healthcare professionals strive to assist a good death in all care settings. Death is a personal, spiritual and social event, which is unique to the individual. Nurses are in an ideal position to support the person who is dying and those who are important and close to them. There are many aspects to be considered in assisting a good death, including symptom management, compassionate communication and an understanding of what is important to the individual.