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Improving end of life care on the front line
  1. Caroline Scates
  1. Saint Francis Hospice, Essex, UK


Emergency Care Practitioners (ECPs) are often asked to respond to 999 calls from patients that are dying at home. If relatives caring for loved ones at the end of life suddenly become afraid or anxious, or if new symptoms develop, then the ECPs are often called and have to make quick assessments and judgements about the situation. This project is about enhancing the skills and knowledge of the ECPs to enable them in decision making, and recognising some of the complications and complexities at the end of life. The ultimate aim is to keep patients in their preferred place of care.

Aim To provide 5 days of training to ECPs from the East of England on end of life care, including what palliative care emergencies are, what the end of life care tools are and an introduction to the drugs available in emergency boxes.

Methods Between November 2010 and March 2011 we welcomed over 30 ECPs on five study days on end of life care. Each delegate attended the same programme and had the opportunity to discuss the most difficult aspects of attending palliative care patients.

Results Our initial feedback from the evaluation forms was encouraging. For many delegates, this was the first training that they had received on end of life care.

Discussion The initial feedback received and the links that we have now built with the ambulance service, are certainly encouraging. We have been given some anecdotal evidence from the local end of life care facilitator who has already seen positive results in practice.

Conclusion By September, we will have further feedback from the ECPs as we plan to wait until they have had an opportunity to put what they have learned into practice before assessing how this training has influenced practice and what needs to develop further.

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