The Issue We needed cost effective in-house communication skills education to suit all levels of staff and volunteers to ensure they had the knowledge, skills and confidence to communicate effectively with patients, their families and with each other.
Why it is important All of our staff and volunteers will at some time be supporting people in distress. Clinical staff often have ‘big’ conversations with their patients – breaking bad news etc. They can only do this if they have the right communication skills and the confidence to use them.
What was done We developed a three- tier programme of interactive communication skills workshops called CLEARER.
CARE A two-hour workshop at an introductory level to develop basic skills for communicating compassionately and sensitively with others.
CLEAR A four-hour workshop at a foundation level to develop skills to hold clear, sensitive and honest conversations about care options, explore patient experiences, needs, priorities and choices.
CLEAREST A full day workshop at an intermediate level aimed at qualified clinical staff that develops skills reflecting, analysing and applying communication strategies to ensure effective compassionate conversations in challenging circumstances.
Workshops have been delivered regularly since 2013.
Evaluation Participants completed post workshop evaluations and were observed in practice using their skills.
Outcomes Staff reported increased confidence in having ‘big’ conversations and supporting people in distress. Feedback form patients and their families indicates staff and volunteers do communicate effectively and compassionately.
Future The demand for workshops from outside the hospice exceeded the capacity to provide them. To address this issue we have worked with our Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) who were looking to provide communication skills education to people working in health and social care. The CCGs are adopting our CLEARER Communication Programme and supporting the training of facilitators to deliver the workshops.
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