GPs and nurses need more end-of-life training

More training and support would help GPs and nurses discuss with terminally-ill patients their preferred place of death, a study from the University of Warwick suggests.

By Joanne Elull

Researchers from the University of Warwick interviewed GPs and clinical and specialist nurses in 15 general practices across the UK.

Dr Dan Munday, associate clinical professor in palliative medicine, said that most interviewees reported that they did not find it easy to discuss where the patient wanted to die. 

The recent publication of the DoH's End-of-Life Care Strategy for England has highlighted the importance of enabling patients to express end-of-life care preferences and recording these wishes in an advance care plan.

GPs and nurses explained how they balance these guidelines and an assessment of the propriety of discussing the issue with patients.

Dr Munday added: ‘Preferences for place of death frequently change over time and are often ill-defined in the patient's mind. We need more research to develop appropriate training and we need to better understand the importance of place of death to patients and their carers.'

He concluded that this uncertainty surrounding preferred place of death limits the extent to which whether patients get to die where they choose can be used as a measure of the effectiveness of palliative care.

  • Do GPs and nurses need more end-of-life training?


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