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Nine in 10 nurses can’t deliver “right level” of palliative care



Only 10.5% of nurses surveyed by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said that they were always able to deliver the right level of care to patients

Only 10.5% of nurses surveyed by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said that they were always able to deliver the right level of care to patients.

The survey of 7,721 nurses also found that 58.5% said that the wishes of patients could not be fulfilled during the last six months of their lives, commonly due to a lack of time, with some also citing a lack of training.

The majority (69.4%) of nurses in the community had seen patients having to be taken into hospital in their final hours, against their wishes, because there weren’t the resources to care for them at home.

In response Amanda Cheesley, RCN professional lead for long term conditions and end of life care, said: “Nurses need time to listen to what the dying person wants, help them to express their fears and anxieties, and do what they can to alleviate them. The health service and society in general need to be better at acknowledging the importance of dying, and of discussing our wishes about how we are cared for in our final days.”

The RCN has today issued guidance on palliative care for nurses, specifically on nutrition and hydration, and the second on the key principles of end of life care. Both are online and include audio and case studies, covering topics such as communication, advance care planning, symptom management, difficult conversations, and bereavement.

“These resources are designed to help nurses with difficult situations and complex care. We also hope that they will enable staff to reflect, empathise and learn from each other about what works well,” Cheesley added.

See the RCN nutrition and hydration guidance here , and the end of life guidance here.