Peace Hospice Care created their care home End of Life Care Community Educator position in 2009 to extend hospice good practice into care homes in the South West Herts area.

This innovative approach was in response to the Department of Health End of Life Strategy (2008) which highlighted the need to support care home staff to deliver excellent end of life care through formal training and informal role modelling support and mentoring.

Since doing the training I no longer avoid talking to relatives of dying patients

Jo Loney was appointed to this position. She is a New Zealand nurse who has been working in end of life care delivered in care homes. Claire Nicell joined Jo at the start of 2011 to help deliver this care home training. Claire is also a nurse, with 20 years of palliative care experience, including a spell as an Inpatient Unit team leader at Peace Hospice Care.

Jo and Claire are both working under the umbrella of the East of England NHS end of life care project. This project has two branches - one working in care homes (see below) and one working with staff in the hospitals/community (see below).

The education delivered in each of the settings have slightly different emphases, but generally cover core material identified as important by the end of life care strategy.

Peace Hospice Care has very gratefully received funding towards this post from the Stanley Foundation, the Burdett Foundation and NHS East of England.

For more information on our End of Life Care work please contact
Jo Loney on 01923 330330, or 07720509254 or by email or
Claire Nicell please call her on 07947720869 or by email

Celebrating Good Practice/Further Education/Resources

A key part of the work that Jo and Claire do is to signpost staff to their own training and to other training offered within Hertfordshire and the Mount Vernon Cancer network. They liaise closely with their colleagues within the NHS and independent providers to keep updated about end of life care being offered throughout the region.

As part of the strategy to continue the work and sustain the education, the ABC project leads have developed a Train the Trainer (TTT) model which is now in the final part of its six-month pilot, training 36 champions or "new trainers" from 18 care homes across the East of England.
The ABC team is working in collaboration with the National Care Forum and the project is being evaluated independently by the University of Hertfordshire to test the robustness of the education model.

The evaluation will also look at the programme's uptake of, and integration with, the wider systems of care; resources, productivity and quality; how staff's knowledge and behaviour has changed; evidence of change in practice and the impact on resident's experience of end of life care.

Early feedback from the pilot has been positive and discussions are taking place with Skills for Care to accredit the participants who complete the course.

Other sources of useful information are:
National End of Life Care for Adults
Dying Matters
National Council for Palliative Care
Collaborating with impact - The ABC End of Life Care Education Programme

NHS East of England ABC End of Life Education Programme for Care Homes

This is a free education programme available to care home and domiciliary staff. It is offered across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire as well as Essex and Anglia. This specially designed course is a blended approach which integrates online e-learning and face to face sessions plus mentor support. The programme includes 7 modules:

  • Overarching principles
  • Communication skills
  • Comfort and wellbeing
  • Assessment and Care Planning
  • Advance Care Planning
  • End of life toolkit
  • Caring in the last days of life

The follow-up workshop is facilitated by Claire or Jo and all attendees receive certification for learning from the East of England.

Comments about the programme include:

"Since doing the training I no longer avoid talking to relatives of dying patients
It's great that the training is being delivered to us; we find it so hard to attend external training".

This training has ignited our passion to learn more about palliative care
My communication skills have improved; I have now more confidence when talking to relatives' about "end of life issues"

Access to the programme is available to everyone at e-ELCA but to receive mentorship support, organisations or individuals need to register with the project lead

Three hospices, including the Peace Hospice Care were individually recognised in a recent Public Health Action Support Team (PHAST) report for the working they do. The report concluded that the NHS Health Education East of England ABC programme was the best at delivering end of life education in nursing homes.

End of Life Care in Hospitals/Community - The ABC Education Programme

This programme, promoted by NHS East of England, is a blended learning programme based on the End of Life Care Strategy (Dept of Health, 2008) and the End of Life Care core competencies (July 2009). It is designed to give participants a broad introduction and overview to end of life care. The programme is designed for any health and social care professional involved in delivering end of life care and is based on a combination of e-learning, tutorial and face to face sessions. The e-learning component of the course is taken from the National E learning for Health End of Life Care Programme (ELCA).

Working with Champions

Care home staff with a passion for excellent end of life care for their residents are identified as End of Life Care Champions and work with Jo, Claire and their managers to facilitate this initiative.

We run 2-3 workshops a year for our champions to keep them updated on end of life issues and encourage sharing of good practices (see Celebrating Good Practice/Further Education/Resources below for details).