Background Healthcare assistants (HCAs) play a key role in delivering palliative care (McGuinness, Hasson. BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2022;12:A2; Pesut, McLean, Reimer-Kirkham, et al. Nurse Educ Today. 2015;35(9):e90–6; Fee, Muldrew, Slater, et al. Palliat Med. 2020;34(8):976–88). However, HCA training has limited coverage of palliative care (Department of Health and Social Care. The Cavendish Review: An independent review into healthcare assistants and support workers in the NHS and social care settings [Internet]. 2013; Health Education England. Raising the bar: Shape of Caring: A review of the future education and training of registered nurses and care assistants. 2015; NHS England. Healthcare support worker programme [Internet]. 2022). As part of their induction, all new HCAs employed by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust receive a 4-hour induction session on palliative care led by two specialist palliative care HCAs. We present the findings of feedback analysis.
Methods Feedback forms collected from induction sessions between 1/2/2022 and 31/12/2022 were retrospectively analysed. We calculated median score and range for the following questions- 1) ‘How useful did you find the training today’ (1 – not useful, 10 – very useful); 2) ‘Do you feel the session explained the topics in sufficient detail?’ (1 -disagree, 10 -agree). We conducted thematic analysis of free text responses to generate five themes of the learners ‘take home messages’ and five themes from the learners’ experiences of the session (Maguire, Delahunt. All Ireland J Higher Educ. 2017;9(3)).
Results 360 healthcare assistants attended the induction sessions between 1/2/2022 and 31/12/2022. 254 feedback forms were available for analysis. Feedback was missing from three sessions. The median score for ‘How useful’ was 10 (Range 5–10). Median scores for ‘explained in sufficient detail’ were 10 across all domains (Range 2–10). 214 respondents (84.3%) provided free text comments. Themes in the take home messages included physical care, holistic care, the importance of family, communication and local resources. Themes from the learners’ experiences included the learners’ feelings, personal development, quality of teaching, qualities of the tutors and opportunities for further learning.
Discussion Our feedback highlights that peer-led palliative care teaching for HCAs is well received and helps meet their learning needs. Our results demonstrate some of the benefits of peer-led teaching (Ten Cate, Durning. Med Teach. 2007;29(6):591–9; Allikmets, Vink. Adv Med Educ Pract. 2016 May;329). We encourage readers to consider the potential role of healthcare assistants within the palliative care workforce, particularly in educational roles.
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