In a collaborative and innovative approach to tackling inequalities in end of life care, Dr Kershaw’s Hospice has developed, delivered and evaluated a successful and bespoke training programme for staff supporting people with learning disabilities (LD) in their own homes and supportive housing.
Through a process of reflective practice and clinical supervision, LD staff from Oldham Care and Support highlighted various challenges they faced in providing end of life care, bereavement and pastoral support to service users and colleagues following the death of a resident. These challenges are further supported by a report commissioned by the Care Quality Commission (2016). Subsequently, an alliance formed between the LD Service Manager and the learning and organisational development team at Dr Kershaw’s Hospice to address concerns and challenges.
Evolving from a comprehensive training needs analysis a clear vision emerged, the ultimate goal to transform the knowledge and skills of staff working in the learning disability service around provision of palliative and end of life care; including grief and bereavement support.
The package consists of two full days of training each with a discrete focus. Day 1 centres on clinical issues, i.e. recognition of end of life, symptom control, practicalities of dealing with a death, documentation and processes. Day 2 emphasises a holistic approach looking at emotional resilience, grief and loss, self-care, communication skills and spirituality.
Feedback from initial training days was analytically evaluated and revisions made to subsequent training. The programme runs quarterly with the ambition of excellent palliative and end of life care for people with learning disabilities, improved support for other service users and enhanced staff wellbeing.
Dr Kershaw’s Hospice are dedicated to working across professional boundaries to improve the provision of end of life care throughout the borough of Oldham, regardless of the location of care. The future vision is of an adaptable model to providing education for professionals working with all inequality groups.
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