End of Life Care: Key skills for care staff defined

Skills for Care and Skills for Health today defined a “baseline” set of skills for all staff working with people approaching the end of their lives.

The two sector skills councils have laid out a series of core competences and principles, designed to achieve a “cultural shift in attitudes and behaviour related to end of life care” in the workplace.

They are designed to apply to all staff across care homes, hospitals and other settings, not just specialists in end of life or palliative care, and supplement current occupation-specific training standards.

They have been produced on the back of the government’s End of Life Care Strategy, published last July, and will be followed next year by a suite of e-learning resources for staff and the launch of a communication skills programme.

The competences are:-

  • Communication skills.
  • Assessment and care planning, including being able to assess people holistically and review assessments in the light of people’s changing needs.
  • Symptom management and maintaining comfort and well-being.
  • Advance care planning.

The principles are that:-

  • Choices and priorities of the individual are at the centre of planning and delivery.
  • Effective, straightforward, sensitive and open communication with individuals and their families underpins all planning and activity.
  • Delivery through multi-disciplinary and inter-agency working.
  • Individuals, families and friends are well informed about the range of options and resources available to be involved in care planning.
  • Care is delivered in a sensitive, person-centred way, taking account of the circumstances, wishes and priorities of the individual, family and friends.
  • Care and support are available to anyone affected by the end of life and death of an individual.
  • Workers are supported to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes and take responsibility for their continuing professional development.

Related articles

End of life care needs in Scotland not being met

NAO: Massive variation in PCT spending on palliative care

Extra care housing staff need training in end of life care

Social care and the End of Life Care Strategy

More information

National End of Life Care Programme


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