Background This project was undertaken at an independent hospice in the West of Scotland, serving a population of 76,000 people. In August 2022, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) and trainee ANP started working at this hospice. During their community work, they identified that there were eight carers dedicated to providing end-of-life care, employed by the health social care partnership. These carers did not receive any formal training in palliative and end of the life care for this role.
Aim To standardise the training provided to carers and improve the quality of end-of-life care.
A learning needs analysis was performed.
A six-week programme was designed based on the framework for health and social care professional education in palliative and end of life care developed by NHS Education for Scotland.
The framework has five domains to help support education: discussing fundamentals of palliative care, communication, grief and bereavement, care planning and care in the last days of life.
Initial training in the use of Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) was provided to improve interprofessional communication.
Sessions were well evaluated.
Feedback from participants included:
‘I enjoyed information on how to communicate with service users and their family, I also enjoyed teaching regarding PPS as it allows us to communicate more clearly’.
‘I enjoyed all of it. I found PPS extremely beneficial and overall feel more confident dealing with palliative care issues throughout my job’.
Education on PPS has led to the recognition of a deteriorating patient in primary care who was subsequently admitted to the hospice inpatient unit.
Conclusion This project has shown that proactively identifying and addressing the learning needs of social care professionals improves their confidence in delivering end of life care and improves collaborative working with the hospice. This project integrates with parallel projects at the hospice, including the introduction of a healthcare professional advice line.
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