The period of time marked by disability or disease that is progressively worse until death.
The final stage of the journey of life.
The evidence does not support a precise definition of the interval referred to as end of life or its transitions.
From the National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science Conference Statement
There is no exact definition of end of life; however, the evidence supports the following components:
- 1. The presence of a chronic disease(s) or symptoms or functional impairments that persist but may also fluctuate; and
- 2. The symptoms or impairments resulting from the underlying irreversible disease that require formal (paid, professional) or informal (unpaid) care and can lead to death.
Related Term: End of Life Care
Also known as: End-of-Life, comfort care, supportive care and symptom management.
DeSpelder LA. Strickland AL. 2005. The Last Dance: Encountering Death and Dying. 7th Edition. New York, N.Y.: McGraw Hill.
Lynn J. Schuster JL. and Kabcenell A. Glossary. Improving Care for the End of Life: A Sourcebook for Health Care Managers and Clinicians. Online Version at:
National Institutes of Health. 2004. National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science Conference Statement on Improving End-of-Life Care. http://consensus.nih.gov/2004/2004EndOfLifeCareSOS024html.htm