This article explores the role of the district nurse in supporting family and friends who act as informal carers for patients who wish to die at home. The district nurse can support carers by promoting patient comfort, assessing carer needs, using communication and counselling skills, providing timely information, planning for anticipated needs, and co-ordinating and liaising with appropriate services and professionals. This requires the district nurse to develop a trusting carer-nurse relationship. The Gold Standards Framework and Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient are discussed as a means of guiding healthcare professionals to optimise palliative care for patients and carers. The author suggests that the principles discussed are equally applicable to any nurse who cares for dying patients and their families.