Death is an inevitable part of life. We will all die and almost all of us will experience the death of someone close to them. Dying is an incredibly important life stage, but for too many people the end of life can often be an unnecessarily difficult experience.

Every year in England and Wales over 500,000 people die. For three-quarters of these people, death does not come suddenly. Instead, dying is a process that may take days, weeks or even years, involving a progressive decline in functioning and frequent interactions with health professionals. During this time, many receive some form of end of life care, designed to ease any pain or distress caused by their symptoms, and to maximise their quality of life until the moment of their death.

The value of this care cannot be understated, not just for those people who are reaching the end of their lives but also for their families and carers.