Following the success of the award-winning ABC End of Life Education Programme, which has trained approximately 4,000 care home staff across the East of England in end of life care, a pilot ‘train the trainer’ programme was introduced to build on this success.
The ABC End of Life Education Programme involves online training, face to face teaching sessions and ongoing support from end of life educators/facilitators to give staff in care homes the tools to look after people towards the end of life. The course focuses on symptoms, pain management and emotional support and helping to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.
The Train the Trainer End of Life Care Education Programme (TTT) was commissioned by NHS Health Education East of England to consolidate the learning from the ABC programme, and equip more staff to provide end of life care.
The new programme, in addition to the use of the online training from the ABC Programme, sought to equip trainers with the skills to disseminate their learning more widely within care homes.
The TTT pilot focused on recruiting two trainers (who had participated in the ABC programme) per care home to support six learners in their care home. The pilot ran for nine months, and involved 30 trainers from 17 care homes across.
Improved staff confidence
An evaluation of the pilot, published by the Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care at University of Hertfordshire, found that the programme led to improved staff confidence and skills in supporting residents when they were dying, and recommended that the programme be continued and extended.
The majority of care home staff involved in the pilot believed that the TTT programme had given them confidence in providing end of life care, encouraged the initiation of conversations about residents’ priorities and preferences for end of life care, and helped in how they worked with visiting GPs in planning care.
The flexibility and blended learning approach of the programme, which combined the use of online learning and face-to-face and practice-based teaching with expert facilitation, were seen as strengths of the programme.
And the availability and access to end of life care ‘experts’ was seen as crucial, particularly in situations where there was limited online access, and when participating care homes had limited prior experience of providing end of life care or of training learners in the work place.
The evaluation also found that uptake of the new programme was influenced by the level of support and time available to staff to complete the training, and whether the care home had on site nursing provision or not.