Improving end of life care in care homes; an evaluation of the six steps to success programme

Mary O'Brien, Jennifer Kirton, Katherine Knighting, Brenda Roe, Barbara Jack

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    28 Citations (Scopus)
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    Background: There are approximately 426,000 people residing within care homes in the UK. Residents often have complex trajectories of dying, which make it difficult for staff to manage their end-of-life care. There is growing recognition for the need to support care homes staff in the care of these residents with increased educational initiatives. One educational initiative is The Six Steps to Success programme. Method: In order to evaluate the implementation of Six Steps with the first cohort of care homes to complete the end-of-life programme in the North West of England., a pragmatic evaluation methodology was implemented in 2012–2013 using multiple methods of qualitative data collection; online questionnaire with facilitators (n = 16), interviews with facilitators (n = 9) and case studies of care homes that had completed the programme (n = 6). The evaluation explored the implementation approach and experiences of the programme facilitators and obtain a detailed account of the impact of Six Steps on individual care homes. Based upon the National Health Service (NHS) End of Life Care (EoLC) Programme, The Route to Success in EoLC – Achieving Quality in Care Homes. Results: The programme was flexibly designed so that it could be individually tailored to the geographical location and the individual cohort requirements. Facilitators provided comprehensive and flexible support to care homes. Challenges to programme success were noted as; lack of time allocated to champions to devote to additional programme work, inappropriate staff selected as ‘Champions’ and staff sickness/high staff turnover presented challenges to embedding programme values. Benefits to completing the programme were noted as; improvement in Advance Care Planning, improved staff communication/confidence when dealing with multi-disciplinary teams, improved end-of-life processes/documentation and increased staff confidence through acquisition of new knowledge and new processes. Conclusions: The findings suggested an overall positive impact from the programme. This flexibly designed programme continues to be dynamic, iteratively amended and improved which may affect the direct transferability of the results to future cohorts
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    JournalBMC Palliative Care
    Issue number53
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2016


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