Title of ArticleImproving caregivers experience: enhancing end-of-life care for residents
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sChristine Boomer, Margaret Ross and Donna Dillon
ReferenceVolume 9, Issue 1, Article 5
Date of PublicationMay 2019
KeywordsEducation, person-centred, nursing homes, practice development, end-of-life care, palliative care


Background: Global demographic changes are resulting in an ageing population with increasingly complex needs and comorbidities. The nursing home sector will increasingly play a critical role in the care of people at the end of life. Education for staff in this sector is variable in nature, with little evidence of its impact on practice. Practice development aims to enhance person-centred and evidence-informed cultures.

Aim: To develop and evaluate participants’ palliative and end-of-life care knowledge, enabling them to develop and transform care practices in the homes.

Methods: A practice development programme for registered nurses and care assistants in two nursing homes was undertaken. Evaluation data were collected at the start of the programme and six months after its completion, via focus groups, self-assessment, record reviews, reflective diaries, one-to-one manager interviews, and evaluations and notes from meetings and sessions. Data also informed activities within the programme and its evaluation. A creative hermeneutic approach was adopted for overall data analysis.

Findings: The findings confirm the strength of adopting a practice development approach to underpin a staff education programme. Integrating registered nurses and care assistants in the learning environment enhanced working relationships and translated to a more healthful workplace culture and enhanced person-centred end-of-life care.

Implications for practice:

  • Integrating practice development into staff education for nursing home staff is an effective means of developing their knowledge and skills and seeing this integrated into practice
  • As global demographics change, this sector will play a major role in end-of-life care, so a more systematic approach to the development of nursing home staff is required to enhance person-centred end-of-life care in this sector
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