Background In early 2020 it became apparent that COVID-19 was going to have a major impact on hospice services. In anticipation of the pressures of giving end-of-life care to COVID-19 positive patients during a pandemic, the decision was made to increase clinical staff resource in the community.
Aim The aim was to upskill non-clinical and allied health professional staff in a very short space of time, to prepare them to give end-of-life care, alongside experienced colleagues.
Method A two-day intensive training course, based on the core attributes identified in a concept analysis of being prepared for end-of-life care (Griffith, 2018), was devised and delivered to non-clinical staff who volunteered to help. Attendees were relocated into three community teams, and partnered with experienced carers and registered nurses to ensure that they were supported in practice. Supervision and guidance was given by colleagues and managers.
Results Following the teaching sessions, two staff members withdrew from the opportunity to take up a care role; six went ahead and joined the community teams. By the end of the first wave of COVID-19, three members of the fundraising team had returned to their usual roles, having enjoyed and benefitted from the experience, and gained greater insight into the service offered by our hospice. Two members of staff were successfully appointed to permanent roles in the community care team, and an allied professional remains in the role at the present time. The extra team members in the community helped to ensure that a comprehensive service was offered to increased numbers of people dying at home.
Conclusion Using a concept analysis to guide education planning, ensured a robust teaching programme, which successfully prepared non-clinical staff for a clinical role. This also confirms findings from a recent study of how prepared nurses feel a sense of ‘fit’ with hospice care (Griffith & Gelling, 2021 [in press]).
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