End of Life Care training at KGH nominated for top award

Nursing Times Award mannikin training

The use of high-tech training manikins and ‘real-life’ scenarios for staff end-of-life care training has led to a Kettering General Hospital team being shortlisted for a top national award.

The Palliative Care Team have been shortlisted for a Nursing Times Award in the Enhancing Patient Dignity category of the 2022 awards - due to be held in London on October 26.

The hospital has a unique end-of-life care training package - developed by KGH Palliative Care Nurse Specialist Jan Murts - which uses scenario training and high-tech simulation manikins to help staff experience and learn from the many considerations and stresses involved in end-of-life care.

Jan said: “Enhancing patient dignity is essential for our dying patients, who are often vulnerable and unable to maintain their own privacy or dignity.

“It is imperative that nurses are provided with the skills to ensure competent, confident, and compassionate, individualised care.

“I saw the potential that simulation training could have for staff dealing with these potentially difficult situations and we have developed a very powerful and memorable way of helping them to prepare to give the best possible care for patients and support for relatives.”

Real-life scenario training helps staff prepare to better support end of life care

End-of-Life Care Simulation Training for Nurses was launched in 2019 and each simulation day covers five scenarios, based on real end-of-life care situations.

Macmillan Transformation Lead Nurse for End-of-Life Care, Sarah Parry, said: “Scenarios have included management of seizures, pain, breathlessness, secretions, agitation, bleeding, breaking bad news on the telephone, dealing with distressed relatives and individualised care planning in the last days of life.

“In each scenario there is either a Health Care Assistant (HCA) or relative, played by a Specialist Palliative Care Nurse and the patient is either a staff actor or the ‘SimMan’ manikin.

“A Palliative Medicine Consultant is in the control room with a Simulation Suite Technician, they lead the scenario, communicating via an earpiece with the specialist nurse to help guide the candidates when needed.”

The experience is very realistic because the consultant and technician can use sound effects in the manikin, alter any monitor readings throughout the scenarios, and play the role of a doctor, if the candidate chooses to ask for medical advice.

The staff taking part in the scenario operate in pairs and the other staff involved in the training observe the scenario via video-link. Afterwards there is a debrief where what happened, and ways to improve, are discussed.

Training is unique and being looked at by other hospitals

Other hospitals are now looking at our training as one of the best ways of helping staff to prepare for supporting end-of-life care.

Kettering General Hospital’s Interim Director of Nursing, Fiona Barnes, said: “Jan and the team have done an amazing job in developing this unique training package.

“Jan originally identified the potential of simulation training in this area which is completely different to traditional approaches.

“It provides a safe environment for nurses to practice communication skills, compassion, provide individualised care plans and explore their current knowledge and skills around end-of-life care, manage common symptoms, and manage situations they find challenging.

“The debrief component also provides an opportunity for them all to reflect on their practice and take into consideration how they communicate with patients, care for them, manage their symptoms and consider the needs of their relatives.

“The impact this training has had, and the response from staff learning this way, exceeds anything we have witnessed in the past.”

Other individuals and organisations are interested in adopting the KGH initiative. We have already had observers from other palliative care teams/ End of Life Care Practice Development Teams and have had interest from other organisations to learn more.

Representatives of the KGH team are up against three other teams from North Stafford, Shropshire, and Tameside and Glossop. The awards themselves will be announced and presented on 26th October 2022 at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.

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