Preparing for ending well

Keeping in touch

It is always important to keep in touch with people but it is especially crucial when people are so ill they might die. This keeping in touch resource can help you understand how to keep in contact.

Plans we can make so it’s easier for everyone

Many of us might not come into contact with family and friends who may be dying until we are quite old ourselves. This makes it easier to pretend that illness and dying will not happen to us until some long time in the future. We might not see the need to plan ahead either for our own death or for the death of our loved ones. Even if we see the need to make those plans other things are more pressing or more enjoyable.

Tips to help us start this conversation are in this short video.

People who make plans and prepare ahead for the end of their lives are more likely to die in the place they have chosen, perhaps in their own home. “Home” is where most people say that they would prefer to die if this were possible.

Think ahead

Thinking ahead before illness develops allows us to make provision for the wellbeing of those we love but will leave behind.

Making simple legal plans can minimise the distress of family while they are grieving.

For more information on what plans you can make click here for the Dying Matters leaflet “Things to do before I die”

An Advanced Care Plan allows others to know your views should you not be in a position to make them known. It can be adapted and reviewed as you wish.  To see what an Advanced Care Plan looks like click here

Later Life Planning

As you get older there is a chance that you may become lonely and/or socially isolated. This can be for many different reasons including, a lack of finances, disabilities which affect your mobility, lack of accessible transport, loss of work, motivation and loss of social connections. Click here to visit our Later Life Planning section.

Learning disability

If you have a learning disability or are caring for someone with a learning disability this example of an Advanced Care Plan might be helpful. If someone you love is dying the picture storybook “Am I going to die?” may help them to understand what is happening, ask questions and share any worries.

No Barriers Here is a unique and innovative approach to advance care planning for people with learning disabilities and a collaboration between The Mary Stevens Hospice, Dudley Voices for Choice, and Art Psychotherapist, Jed Jerwood. Watch the short film to find out more.


If you or a loved one have dementia, guidance on “Planning for the future” may help. An Advanced Care Plan tailored for those with dementia is available from DementiaUK.

Time to say goodbye

The time when we know that someone we love is dying can be upsetting and really hard to deal with. Yet this time of knowing that death will happen soon can also give us time to say “goodbye” in the way that we would like to say goodbye. It can be hard to cope and to plan for the uncertainty of when the death will actually happen. Should you visit soon or very soon? How long can you spend at the bedside of your loved one when you have other family members to care for and other life commitments to meet? With Covid-19 this time will be limited but suggestions to make the most of precious moments can be found here.

Planning ahead for the end of life will help those who are left behind to grieve well.

Pre-bereavement advice that may help us to cope with difficult days ahead is available from the Good Grief Trust.

For more information click on the booklet
For more information click on the booklet