NHS: End of life communications

We have recently worked with an NHS organisation to improve the experience for those patients who are approaching the end of lives. Communicating with patients, their families and carers, in an accessible and sensitive way is crucial. Yet poor communication is cited in more than 50% of the complaints received by the Health Ombudsman. NICE have recently created new guidelines to help NHS staff improve these crucial skills.

The events were delivered to a range of patient-facing staff and focused on how we could improve their communications.  We used facilitated discussions, theatrical scenarios that staff recognised from their working lives and Forum Theatre, where the staff were in control of the theatre and how the scenes evolved. This interactive learning style changed behaviours and dramatically increased skills.

Learning outcomes:

  • An understanding of commonly encountered issues relating to communication in practice
  • Participants reflected on their own practice, recognising strengths and weaknesses
  • Development of knowledge and communication skills through observation and participation in the training
  • A ‘tool kit’ and strategy to use in practice
  • Increased confidence in engaging in end of life conversations in line with the 5 Priorities of care outlined within the ‘One Chance to get it Right’ document.


When asked whether staff had the effective strategies to help them in conversations relating to end of life care, pre and post training evaluations showed a 67% increase in confidence following our training.

Our training programme saw a 50% increase in confidence in facilitating a discussion with a patient and their family about the probability of dying.

Pre and post training evaluations revealed that staff at the Trust were 40% more confident in responding to questions that arose about the probability of dying.

NHS staff were asked before and after the training, how confident they were in eliciting and actively exploring a dying person’s needs and wishes and ensuring they are fulfilled. The post training evaluations revealed a 47% increase.

To find out more contact us today.

To find out more about the techniques described above click here.

EoL 1b