Nurses need access to high-quality education in end of life care

Consultant edio

End of life care is often explored in the pages of Nursing Older People, including an article in our February edition on the development, implementation and evaluation of an end of life care intervention in care homes (Cox et al 2017).

In this edition we pick up the topic again with an article on the Six Steps+ programme for end of life care in care homes in the south of England, written by hospice practice educator for care homes Angela Springett. This programme improved staff confidence, knowledge and skills and enhanced the quality of end of life care for residents, which included avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions.  


We’re interested to note that Skills for Health, Health Education England and Skills for Care has now published an end of life care core skills education and training framework.

This has been developed on the back of NHS England’s commitment to eliminate variation in end of life care across health systems by 2020. It is a welcome development: all practitioners should have access to good quality education and support in delivering end of life care. It is also ambitious in its aim.

Successful implementation inevitably will hinge on a number of factors. This includes the ongoing need for a full overhaul of undergraduate and postgraduate curricula and career pathways in nursing older people.  


Until the ageing process, recognition of frailty and contemporary models of healthcare are consistently addressed and practitioners have the opportunity to gain a range of experience and skills through more structured career pathway opportunities, many are likely to remain under-equipped to meet the needs of patients and their families at the end of life.  


Cox A, Arber A, Bailey F et al (2017) Developing, implementing and evaluating an end of life care intervention. Nursing Older People. 29, 1, 27-35.