What we know
Terminal care usually refers to the last few days to weeks of life when a person is irreversibly dying. Recognising that death is imminent can be difficult but it is important as it can allow a dying person, his/her family and carers to adjust priorities, achieve certain goals, and plan appropriate end-of-life care. Management of the last days of life can be supported by discussions that have occurred previously. Best practice in end-of-life care includes the timely provision of information; provision of comfort through the management of physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms; and addressing spirituality, grief and bereavement. Appropriate end-of-life care may include consideration of a preferred place of care and preferred place of death; these may not be the same. Increasingly, older people are living longer and with multiple chronic illnesses. Comorbidities and frailty make prognostics difficult but highlight the importance of care planning well in advance of the terminal phase.