We begin by considering the issues raised by those receiving palliative care services. These must be the inspiration to which good practice is a response. The patients' comments and ideas were recorded during hospice day-care sessions and from carers whose relative experienced services from primary and secondary health care teams. All were asked to share their experience of both the most and the least helpful aspects of the service they had received from the point at which they realised that a cure for their illness was not possible. The data collected is presented in the form of case studies, recorded in the interviewees' own words, and the practice issues are then discussed in relation to any relevant research findings.