Wherever you spend your remaining time, there is a lot of support available. This usually involves help from social services and care from family and friends, a GP, community nurse or community-based palliative care services as well as in a hospice, hospital or care home.

GP and primary healthcare team

Your GP has overall responsibility for your care. They can tell you what care and support are available in your area. They can also arrange for community nurses to visit you at home if you’re not well enough to leave home.

Community nurses can organise and coordinate home care and help you to obtain the other care you need. This includes referring you to local services and other organisations, such as local charities that could help. They will liaise closely with others involved in your care, such as the community palliative care team or local hospice. 

Community palliative care team

This is a specialist palliative care team, which brings together different professionals to help you maintain the best quality of life over your remaining days. They will:

  • advise on pain and symptom control
  • offer practical and emotional support for you and your carers
  • arrange or provide nursing or personal care where needed. Some teams offer access to nursing care 24 hours a day. 

 They can also: 

  • arrange for you to be admitted to hospital or a hospice to get help with controlling your symptoms
  • signpost to social services or NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) to give your carers a break.

Support at a hospice

Hospices provide care and support for people who have an incurable illness, helping them to live as fully as they can for the time they have left. They provide help with managing symptoms and pain control, as well as looking after emotional, practical, psychological and spiritual needs. This includes offering support to your family and carers over the course of your illness and through bereavement.

If you have any religious customs or preferences that you would like to be observed at the end of your life, or after death, the team includes a hospice chaplain who can help you. 

The hospice team works closely with other health professionals looking after you. You can talk to your GP or community nurse if you'd like them to refer you.

Physiotherapists and occupational therapists

A physiotherapist or occupational therapist may also be involved with your care in a clinical setting or at home. They help you to live as independently as possible. For example, the physiotherapist might help with walking or breathing, or an occupational therapist might advise on how to adapt your home and the types of equipment you might need.

You should be able to arrange an occupational therapy assessment from your local authority’s social care team or through your healthcare team. 

Social services

Your local authority’s social services team are another important source of information. If you need help with looking after yourself, they should arrange for you to receive a free carer's needs assessment. This will help you work out what help you need at home and how to obtain it. This might include:

  • help from a care worker with washing or dressing
  • meals delivered to your home
  • adaptations, such as grab rails, additional stair rails or other specialist equipment. 

They should also advise you on how to arrange care and your entitlement to any financial help with it.


Charities provide lots of support to people at the end of life and to their carers. Someone from your health or social care team should be able to tell you what's available in your area. You can also find lots of information online, via your local authority’s website, and we also link you to relevant charities at suitable points in this information centre.

Charities can provide help for such things as:

  • telephone or email helplines
  • support groups for people with specific illnesses
  • support for carers
  • information and advice services, including information about benefits and how to apply for them
  • specialist equipment that you can borrow or buy
  • day centres offering activities and respite care
  • transport to and from medical appointments
  • volunteers who will visit you at home, or even provide hands-on help, such as help with shopping
  • care for pets.

See our page on help and support at the end of life for links to charities who can provide support at the end of life.

Related pages

  • Choosing where to be cared for: you may prefer to be cared for at home or in a hospice or hospital; read about the benefits and disadvantages of being cared for at home.
  • How to pay for end-of-life care: living with a terminal illness or caring for someone who is terminally ill can be expensive; find out what financial help is available.
  • What is end-of-life care?: read more about what care is provided in the last months, weeks and days of your illness with a focus on managing symptoms.

The EPiC Resource Centre is kindly sponsored by Cleenol: working for a cleaner, safer, kinder world.