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Report calls for training to include end of life care


End of life communication skills need to be embedded into all levels of nurses’ training, a specialist NHS body has recommended.

The NHS National End of Life Care Programme’s report - Talking About End of Life Care: Right Conversations, Right People, Right Time - is based on findings from 12 pilot projects that assessed local training needs and approaches to meeting them.

The report calls for “flexible and relevant” approaches to training in end of life care communication. It says this will help more patients to die in their place of choice and make nurses more comfortable and confident when dealing with such issues.

One pilot, in the East of England, set up an e-learning programme for residential homes which is being rolled out in Anglia, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex.

Other examples from the pilots include staff becoming “end of life care champions”, involving patients in training and using professional actors to role play end of life conversation scenarios.  

The programme’s deputy director Anita Hayes told Nursing Times that the specific needs of dying patients should be included in core communication skills taught to student nurses, and that there should be greater access to advanced communication skills training for qualified nurses.

She said: “Teesside University, one of our test sites, has embedded this into all of their nursing pre-registration courses, so it is explicit from the beginning.”




Readers' comments (3)

  • so why was this ever dropped from nursing? as a nurse trained in the 1970s I always assumed that this was part of our job and discovered throughout my career that these were essential skills

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  • I agree, this is an essential and fundamental part of a nurses role and always has been.
    Those of us who have the relevant experience should be assisting students to deal with this by working with them in clinical practice.

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  • Please lets get end of life care right. i have just lost my father who should of been on a end of life pathway instead he dies in CCU. His heart failure nurse when he requested a hospice placemant told him hospices were for the dying. Thats what my dad was doing!! please also can we as nurses be more honset with relatives ringing and saying some one has detoriated when they are dead does'nt help the relative i broke all speed records to get to my then dead fathers bedside. Lets think of families . I for one feel we need to educate both nurses and doctors in end of life care and stop telling relatives lies . my dad was dying please do not tell me that he would get better his ECG and vital signs lead me to disbelive this.

    End of life care is hard but lets get it right for the patient and the relative.

    My last memory of my dad is him complaining of being cathereised even though i had requested that this be removed

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