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Nurse Educ Today. 2006 Aug;26(6):501-10. Epub 2006 Mar 6.

The palliative care education needs of nursing home staff.

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  • 1Northern Ireland Hospice, 71A Saintfield Road, Belfast, BT8 7HN, United Kingdom.



Palliative care is delivered in a number of settings, including nursing homes, where staff often have limited training in palliative care.


We explored the level of palliative care knowledge among qualified staff delivering end-of-life care in nursing home settings, to inform the development of an appropriate education and training programme.


An audit of the educational needs assessment was performed using an anonymous postal questionnaire sent to 528 qualified nursing staff within 48 nursing homes.


In total, 227 questionnaires were returned giving a response rate of 43%. Results indicated that less than half the sample had obtained formal training in the area of pain assessment and management and less than a quarter had obtained training in non-malignant conditions. Registered nurses in this study reported a lack of awareness of palliative care principles or national guidelines.


Qualified nursing home staff agree that palliative care is a valuable model for care in their setting. There are clear opportunities for improvement in nursing home care, based on education and training in palliative care. Results also support the need for enhanced liaison between nursing homes and specialist palliative care services.

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