Nurses demand better end of life care training

Categories: Education.

At the RCN’s annual congress this week, over 99% of delegates voted in favour of a resolution for the RCN council to lobby for improved training and education in end of life care.

Kiera Jones, a palliative care nurse, submitted the resolution following the recent criticism of the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) which led to the current independent review into the use of the end of life pathway.

At the congress, delegates spoke of their professional and personal experiences of the LCP, highlighted the importance of good communication skills and commented that the pathway should not replace common sense or clinical judgment. A report of the debate can be read on the congress website.

Calls for better training echo those from Help the Hospices, who this week stressed the importance of staff training to ensure the appropriate and effective use of the LCP, as part of its submission to the independent review.

A survey of doctors last month by the BMJ also highlighted the need for training in the use of the pathway, in particular around recognising a dying patient and communicating this to patients and relatives.

Referring to these survey findings, David Praill, chief executive of Help the Hospices, said that the lack of training and understanding of the LCP must be addressed. He said: “Hospices can share learning about identifying patients most likely to benefit from being on the pathway, as well as the structures and processes which will ensure its best use.

“Hospices are well placed to share their expertise in working and talking with patients and families to achieve common goals for care at the end of life, and support for bereaved families and carers.”

The RCN and Help the Hospices are among a number of organisations to have signed a consensus statement supporting the appropriate use of the LCP.

The RCN has also developed the joint end of life care patient charter with the Royal College of General Practitioners, and plans to deliver further training, following workshops on end of life care delivered with the National Council for Palliative Care and the National End of Life Programme last year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *