Background Nearly half of all deaths occur in hospital. Most of end of life care (EOLC) is delivered by non specialist staff. Training is variable and usually not mandatory. How confident are front line staff in delivering EOLC?
Methods All inpatient setting healthcare professionals (HCPs) at a general hospital (549 beds) were invited (through email, hospital general bulletin, team meetings) to answer a 10 item questionnaire covering the five Priorities for Care of a Dying Person: their confidence rating on a Likert 1–7 scale about essentials of care and communication.
Scores 5, 6 or 7/7 = confident; scores 1–4 = not confident
All responses were anonymised and inputted via Survey monkey.
Results 181 responses were received: 50/181 ward nursing staff, 24/181 junior doctors, 21/181 HCAs, 20/181 consultants. Consultants were most confident; junior doctors and ward staff least. For all the least confident areas were discussing food and fluids and instigating an individualised care plan (Table 1).
Hands on ward staff report lowest levels of confidence regarding caring for dying patients and their families.
The least confident area was around discussing provision of food and fluids, which may explain why the NCDAH 2016 found low levels of discussion regarding fluids (with patients: 18%; with relatives: 39% of cases)
This questionnaire can identify specific confidence issues and thus be used to plan bespoke teaching sessions.
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