The Dying Well charter - principles of care and support

21 July 2014

All of us should have the right at the end of life to experience a good death and our families, partners or other carers deserve support and compassion at this time. Sensitive and appropriate end of life support should begin at the time illness is identified and continue throughout ill health, during death and in bereavement .It is equally important to ensure that those people with increased but otherwise unrecognised vulnerability to life threatening illness are recognised and that such support is provided proactively. It should be available to people coming to the end of life at any age and from any

This charter will guide health, social care, community, voluntary and other organisations, and groups or individuals who plan, develop and provide end of life care or support. It will help to ensure the right services are available at the right time for individuals who are dying, their families and carers.

All care providers should be aware of the charter, and its impact on their work, not only those who work specifically in end of life services.

When you are nearing the end of your life, communities need to work together with health and care services, so that you can expect:

  • the best possible joined up care and support;
  • help to live as well as you can, for as long as you can.

We will do this by offering to:

Recognise me

  • See my death as an important part of my life.
  • See me as a person, treat me with dignity and respect, and not ‘write me off’.
  • Do all you can to give me independence and control over how I choose to live my life.


  • Talk and communicate with me in a language and ways I can understand.
  • Be honest with me, answer my questions as best you can, and tell me what to expect, where possible.
  • Talk to me and the people important to me about what I might need in the future, as often as I need to do this.
  • Recognise when I am not able to communicate and do all you can to support me in communicating my choices and decisions.

Involve me

  • Listen to what I want for the remainder of my life, including my final days and hours.
  • Help and support me to think ahead to the choices I may face, make decisions about my care and support, and give me as many opportunities as I need to do this.
  • Remember that I can change my mind about my decisions if I want to.
  • Make sure that my decisions are recorded and communicated so that everyone involved in my care and support knows what I want.
  • When I am unable to participate in making my own decisions because of my condition, those most important to me will be involved and supported to make decisions about the way I am cared for which are in my best interests and in accordance with what I would have wanted.

Support me

  • Make every possible effort to help me to get the end of life care I want, including in the place I choose.
  • Support me to talk about any emotional, cultural, or spiritual needs I may have as I approach the end of my life, and make sure they are met wherever possible
  • Support the people who are important to me before and after I die, including offering counselling.

Help me Plan, and Do

  • Give me a chance to plan my care at the end of life.
  • Enable me to choose someone to coordinate and organise my care and support.
  • Tell me who I or the people close to me can call for information and support, at any time of day or night, if we need it.
  • Provide practical support as quickly as possible.
  • Make sure I have a pain-free, dignified and comfortable death.