Improving end-of-life-care: professional development for physicians

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Report of a working party, published March 2012 

Provision of good care at the end of life cannot be left to palliative care specialists, but is an important part of the role of most physicians. This report sets out a range of practical proposals and tools to enable all physicians to improve their care of patients in the last phase of life. This means not only caring form them in their last days or hours, but identifying these patients earlier on, talking to them and their carers and giving them time to make choices about where they die and what treatment and care they receive.

The report takes evidence from practising physicians about the need for professional development, and also examines the best methods for education and training in the context of busy clinical practice. Its recommendations for physicians detail the many different learning opportunities that would develop their skills, from direct feedback from patients, to CPD and e-learning. Trusts in turn should support these developments by providing time for learning and prioritising high quality end-of-life care within their organisations. The report supplies implementation tools, such as ward round prompts, and top ten tips.

This is essential reading for all clinicians who recognise the difficulties and uncertainties in this important area of care, and for trust boards, training bodies, commissioners, and all those who need to support them.

The full report and survey, along with summary leaflets for clinicians and managers and the top ten tips and prompt tools are available to download.


  • Introduction
  • Methodology and remit
  • Issues clinicians face in delivering high-quality end-of-life care
  • Educational approaches to professional development in end-of-life care
  • The need for and provision of CPD across the UK
  • Evidence gathered from physicians
  • References
  • Appendix 1 Top ten tips for physicians
  • Appendix 2 Prompt tool for post-take ward rounds/general ward rounds
  • Appendix 3 Prompt tool for mortality and morbidity meetings

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