How ‘gold standard’ training can help staff deliver better end-of-life care

Training in the Gold Standard Framework can help care homes improve quality of life for residents nearing the end of life and reduce hospitalisation argues Jane Berg, of Princess Alice Hospice in Surrey.

Jane Berg

Care homes are increasingly having to manage end-of-life care as residents’ needs become more complex and they choose to stay at home as death approaches.

The Gold Standard Framework training for care homes (GSFCH) is the most comprehensive training programme in end-of-life care for care homes. As a regional training centre, we will be running training programmes for staff designed to equip them with the skills to care for their residents at end of life and ensure organisational structures are in place to facilitate this.

The training aims to improve the quality of resident care, in line with their preferences and ensure collaboration and co-ordination of care across boundaries. It will help improve outcomes and cost effectiveness, reduce hospitalisation, and enable more residents to live and die well in their care home – something that we all know is imperative.

How the training works

The training consists of three phases: preparation, training, and consolidation, leading to accreditation.

During the preparation phase the care homes complete an audit of the quality of care for residents who die, looking at the numbers having advance care planning discussions, the numbers dying where they chose or in their usual place of care, hospital bed days and crisis admissions.

The training phase involves four full-day workshops, where care home staff will become familiar with how to use the GSFCH toolkit to support end-of-life care. The workshops, delivered over nine months, are interactive and aim to guide staff in achieving the standard required in the 20 key quality markers, which include: advanced care planning; GP collaboration; reflective practice and audit; and care in final days.

The key quality markers will be assessed when the care home applies for accreditation, which includes rigorous assessment against the 20 standards by independent assessors. The pace of the whole process is flexible according to the organisation and takes on average eighteen months to complete.

What it delivers

The end result is that care home staff have a framework to proactively identify residents who might be in the last year of life, monitor any deterioration, assess clinical and personal needs and plan for better care using tried and tested skills, tools and resources.

Since its launch in 2004, more than 2,000 homes have been through the GSFCH quality improvement programme. Homes which achieve accreditation are able to use this as a quality assurance measure, with accreditation valid for three years with annual appraisals.

We are looking forward to working closely with care homes to support them in achieving this prestigious accreditation.

Jane Berg is head of education at Princess Alice Hospice in Surrey, which was recently made a regional training centre for the Gold Standard Framework for care homes.


Read more about the Gold Standards Framework


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