By Mayo Clinic Staff

End-of-life care

When a loved one is dying, conversations about the end of life may be uncomfortable and hard. Still, talking about end-of-life care is important.

Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to help your loved one make important end-of-life decisions. Those decisions may include whether to remain at home, move to a nursing home or other facility, or seek hospice care. Work with the health care team to make sure that your loved one remains comfortable at the end of life. Pain, breathing problems, anxiety and other end-of-life symptoms often can be eased.

Think about end-of-life issues that go beyond medical care too. Decide how best to communicate with and provide updates to other family members and friends. If possible, talk to your loved one about their preferences for a funeral or other memorial service. Find out if your loved one has a will or other legal documents that will be needed after death.

Even at the end of life, you can continue to support and nurture your relationship with your loved one. Simply being there can be an important source of strength and comfort for all involved.


When a loved one dies, grief can be very painful. It often triggers intense emotions. But people may express those emotions differently. Some wonder how they will ever pick up the pieces and heal. There might be concern that going back to living life as usual may somehow betray a loved one's memory. Sometimes, conflicting emotions about a difficult relationship with a loved one or the way a person died can make grief more complicated.

There are no quick fixes for grief following a loved one's death. As you face grief, allow yourself to feel the pain and the full range of emotions you may be having. Know that's part of the healing process. Take good care of yourself, and seek support from friends and loved ones. If, over time, grief remain strong and makes it hard for you to re-engage in daily life, tell a member of your health care team or seek support from a therapist who specializes in grief.

Although life may never be quite the same, for most people, the pain of grief becomes less intense over time. Finding ways to accept the loss can help as you process grief and move forward with life.

Sept. 07, 2023