End of life care for adults - quality standard (QS13)

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - NICE
Publication date:
28 November 2011


This quality standard covers care for adults (aged 18 and over) who are approaching the end of their life. This includes people who are likely to die within 12 months, people with advanced, progressive, incurable conditions and people with life-threatening acute conditions. It also covers support for their families and carers. It includes care provided by health and social care staff in all settings. It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement.

It does not include the care of people in the last days of life, which is covered by NICE’s quality standard on care of dying adults in the last days of life.

 This quality standard was developed before the publication of NICE’s guideline on end of life care for adults: service delivery and before the COVID-19 pandemic. New Department of Health and Social Care guidance on managing COVID-19 deaths and verifying deaths in times of emergency is relevant to statements 13 and 14 in this quality standard. We’ve also produced new guidance on managing COVID-19 symptoms (including at the end of life) in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is relevant to statement 16 in this quality standard. The new guidelines may help to support using the quality standard during this time.

How to use NICE quality standards and how we develop them

Quality standards help you improve the quality of care you provide or commission. Find out how to use quality standards and how we develop them. We checked this quality standard in 2019 and we are updating it. See the quality standard in development page for progress on the update.