The National Council for Palliative Care (NPCC)

Last week, The National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) published a new guide to help prepare people on what to expect when someone they know is dying: ‘What to expect when someone important to you is dying’.

The guide aims to demystify the dying process so that people better understand the changes that can happen to their loved ones in the last days of life. Shaped by people who have experienced the death of someone they were close to, and with support from NHS England, Marie Curie, Sue Ryder and Hospice UK, the guide is intended to make the last hours and days of someone’s life less distressing for all concerned, including friends, family members and carers.

As well as explaining the physical changes that someone may go through when they are dying and what can be done to make them more comfortable, the guide sets out the kind of care a dying person can expect to receive. It also details the support those close to the person who is dying should be able to rely on and where to turn to for help if there are concerns about the end of life care received.

The guide is intended to help address serious concerns raised by friends, family members and carers of dying people as well as health and social care professionals about the current inconsistent provision of information about the dying process. This was an issue that was particularly raised by members of the public who contributed to the independent review of the Liverpool Care Pathway.

Copies of the guide are available free to download from
Printed copies are available from the National Council for Palliative Care priced £2.50 (£1.25 for NCPC subscribers).
Discounts are also available for bulk orders. To purchase copies visit or call 020 7697 1520.

The development of the guide was supported by NHS England.