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.”