The 4Elements to End of Life Care course has been developed by experienced palliative care professionals within the Knowledge Exchange team at St Catherine’s Hospice near Preston.
It aims to equip care and nursing home staff with both practical and communication skills to help residents stay within their familiar environments at the end of life, avoiding unnecessary and inappropriate deaths in hospital.
The training comprises of four modules covering advance care planning; do not attempt CPR; long term conditions at the end of life and managing symptoms with a syringe driver. It also covers the principles and practical implementation of personalised care plans for people in the last days or hours of life, including the importance of appropriate and compassionate communication with the person affected, if appropriate, and their loved ones.
Care and nursing homes can invest in the full training package, or select relevant modules accordingly – providing the flexibility to tailor training to suit the skills set of staff.
Lynn Kelly, Director of Knowledge Exchange at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “We are proud of our new 4Elements programme which we have devised to help care and nursing home staff offer the best possible support for residents and their families at the end of life.
“A key focus of our work at St Catherine’s Hospice is fulfilling people’s wishes about where they want to spend their final days. We know that most would prefer to be at home rather than in hospital – and for the thousands of nursing and care home residents in the UK, this means staff must be confident tackling the sensitive issues as well as the specialist practical skills which come with end of life care.
“Our aim is to create peace of mind for residents, families, employees and managers – equipping staff with the skills to create personalised end of life care plans which are in place early enough for them to be properly acted upon. This ensures people remain in their familiar surroundings, eases pressure on already stretched hospital trusts, and helps care and nursing homes to meet the inspection criteria of the Care Quality Commission.
“Above all, we hope the training will help more people to enjoy the best possible quality of life, until the end of life – wherever they live, and whatever condition they have.”
The 4Elements training is delivered on site at the care or nursing home by the hospice’s experienced clinical education team. Homes who sign up for all four modules will also receive additional support via the 4Connect service, offering further education and networking opportunities for nursing home staff.
Deborah Farr, End of Life Co-ordinator with Flightcare Ltd – a nursing and residential home provider across the North West – who has undertaken training with St Catherine’s, said: “I believe one of the most vital aspects for delivering excellent end of life care and reducing avoidable hospital admissions is education of the providers of care and I have found the training from St Catherine’s Hospice to be a fabulous resource.”
Jackie Murphy, Home Manager at Highcliffe residential home in Chorley, has also found training with St Catherine’s beneficial for her staff and residents.
She said: “All the staff who took part have said how much they enjoyed it, how informative and interesting it was and how they have reflected differently now on talking to residents about their end of life and the choices they can make.