Evaluating education in palliative care with link nurses in nursing homes

Br J Nurs. 2008 Sep 25-Oct 8;17(17):1078-83. doi: 10.12968/bjon.2008.17.17.31104.


Background: Palliative care is recognized as an important component of care for everyone with advanced illness. Historically, it has been provided in specialist settings, but it has been suggested that best practice in palliative care should be transferred to non-specialist settings, including care homes. Care homes require particular support for this and link nurses have been recruited to develop palliative care in these settings.

Aim: To assess the palliative care education received and consequently cascaded by designated nursing home staff.

Method: Questionnaire administered to private nursing home nurses who attended a palliative care training programme in one UK region.

Findings: Thirty questionnaires were returned (response rate 77%). There was a high satisfaction with course content, facilitation and benefits accrued from participation. Many respondents (83%) had not commenced cascading training within their nursing homes due to lack of time and competing mandatory demands.

Conclusion: Extending palliative care practice to non-specialist settings with the help of link nurses is possible and welcomed by nursing home staff. However, more substantive and on-going support is needed post-training from both nursing home management and training facilitator to enable and empower link nurses to undertake palliative care education with their peers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing / methods
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training*
  • Interinstitutional Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Northern Ireland
  • Nursing Homes* / organization & administration
  • Palliative Care*
  • Program Evaluation