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New end-of-life care legal rights

Relatives are to get a legal right to be consulted before food or water is withdrawn from terminally-ill patients under the so-called "pathway to death," under new Government proposals.

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What does the Liverpool Care Pathway involve?

The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) is a best practice guide designed to help health professionals across the NHS give patients better care in their last few hours or days.

Its name comes from the Liverpool-based NHS Trust that developed the pathway in 1997.

The pathway can be used irrespective of the diagnosis and can be used in a hospital, home, hospice or care home - but only when all relevant medical staff agree that the patient is dying.

  • Medication may be reviewed
  • Relatives of the patient should be consulted about maintaining the patient's comfort
  • Intake of food and fluids may be reviewed in the best interests of the patient
  • Any spiritual or religious needs of the patient should be determined and catered for

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