Each year, around half a million people die in England and this number is set to rise. It’s therefore crucial that all health and care workers, not just specialist teams, are given the skills and education to confidently and safely deliver high-quality care that meets the needs of patients, and those closest to them, in their last few months, weeks and days of life.
In a 2012 survey undertaken by the University of Sheffield, 87 per cent of doctors and 95 per cent of nurses stated they would take up extra training in palliative and end-of-life care, if it was available to them.
End-of-life care should be holistic and person centred. Staff at every level should be trained, supported and encouraged to gain the skills and confidence they need to care for all patients and to work effectively as part of a multi disciplinary team.
Ensuring staff are well trained and well supported can bring many benefits to individuals, teams, your organisation and most importantly, patients at the end of life. Training does not have to happen in a formal setting and can be approached through blending learning or continuous professional development (CPD) on the wards to deliver high quality, end-of-life care for all. End-of-life care e-learning can support this approach.
Benefits to providing end-of-life care training
- A workforce that is confident and competent in delivering person centred, end-of-life care will ensure that the needs of patients and those closest to them are met well.
- Staff who are competent and confident are better prepared to support people to die in their chosen setting.
- Supporting staff with training and education can help to sustain their health and wellbeing at work and support them in remaining resilient when providing care in difficult and emotionally demanding settings.
- You can maximize staff potential by providing them with skills that can be transferable to all care settings.
- End-of-life care training will help you build a skilled workforce for the future. Between 40 and 50 per cent of palliative and end-of-life care nurses are over 50 and due to retire in the next ten years. It’s crucial that education and skills are shared with all staff that care for those in the last stages of their life, not just specialist staff.
- Developing your staff can increase morale, satisfaction and engage and motivate the workforce, which in turn can improve staff retention, and make you an employer of choice for the future workforce.
- Training can be linked to business needs, for example, improving quality of care, ward productivity and efficiency.
- End-of-life care training can contribute to your organisation's quality improvement strategy and measures. For example,
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust's quality improvement strategy aligns with many end-of-life care objectives.
- Investing in training can help to meet the requirements of the Care Quality Commission.
- Providing end-of-life care training can hellp you to meet the following national agendas:
Benefits of working in multi disciplinary teams (MDTs)
Benefits of experiential learning
- Building relationships across organisational boundaries helps delivers continuity in care.
- Learning and education can be shared in practice to build capacity of staff, as team members act as role models and coach in their respective settings.
- A MDT also helps to build knowledge, team communications and an understanding of colleagues' roles and experience.
- Gives training staff the opportunity to develop skills, expertise and grow within their role
- Gives experienced staff the opportunity share their skills, expertise and grow within their role
- Minimises time away from the wards for training, while maximising training availability
- Has a positive impact on retention
- Increases staff productivity through better engagement and job satisfaction (this can spread widely across the team).