End of life training makes safety shortlist 

09/06/2015 00:00 
A new one day course to support staff talking with patients and families about whether or not attempting CPR is clinically indicated or in their best interests has been short-listed for a leading patient safety award.
 
In June 2014 the Court of Appeal ruled that the human rights of a terminally-ill patient were violated when a ‘do not resuscitate’ notice was placed on her records at a Cambridge hospital without her being consulted. The case created a legal imperative to ensure patients are included in discussions about DNACPR ('do not attempt CPR') decisions but few training opportunities exist to support senior clinicians and nurses to develop their skills for what can be complex and challenging conversations.
 
Now the UCLH 'Talking DNACPR' course, designed by Jillian Hartin (Senior Nurse, Patient Emergency Response and Resuscitation Team) and Judy Walker (Programme Lead), has been shortlisted in the End of Life category of the Health Service Journal 2015 Patient Safety Awards, run annually to celebrate safety in the health service.
 
In the first part of the course participants engage in simulated DNACPR conversations with patients and families, often a transformational learning experience. The second half of the course is spent exploring the legal, religious and ethical context in which DNACPR conversations take place, and the personal challenges that staff may face during them.
 
Feedback from course delegates demonstrates a real increase in confidence and much more awareness of the benefits of the multi professional approach as well as much greater knowledge of the patient perspectives and legal context.
 
Judy Walker said: “The creation of the course programme has been a truly collaborative approach combining the expertise and commitment of staff in Patient Emergency Response and Resuscitation Team, palliative care, anaesthesia, psychology and education. We are all delighted to have been shortlisted. Now we are aiming to consolidate the learning that has taken place already and deliver more Talking DNACPR courses so that we can maintain the standards we’ve set and increase cultural change within UCLH around communication at end of life."
 
The Patient Safety Awards are held at Birmingham ICC on Monday 6 July.

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