The feasibility of a train-the-trainer approach to end of life care training in care homes: an evaluation

Andrea Mayrhofer, Claire Goodman, N.C. Smeeton, Melanie Handley, Sarah Amador, Susan Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: The ABC End of Life Education Programme trained approximately 3000 care home staff in End of Life (EoL) care. An evaluation that compared this programme with the Gold Standards Framework found that it achieved equivalent outcomes at a lower cost with higher levels of staff satisfaction. To consolidate this learning, a facilitated peer education model that used the ABC materials was piloted. The goal was to create a critical mass of trained staff, mitigate the impact of staff turnover and embed EoL care training within the organisations. The aim of the study was to evaluate the feasibility of using a train the trainer (TTT) model to support EoL care in care homes.
Methods: A mixed method design involved 18 care homes with and without on-site nursing across the East of England.
Data collection included a review of care home residents’ characteristics and service use (n=274), decedents’ notes n= 150), staff interviews (n=49), focus groups (n=3), audio diaries (n= 28) and observations of workshops (n= 3).
Results: Seventeen care homes participated. At the end of the TTT programme 28 trainers and 114 learners (56 % of the targeted number of learners) had been trained (median per home 6, range 0–13). Three care homes achieved or exceeded the set target of training 12 learners. Trainers ranged from senior care staff to support workers and administrative staff. Results showed a positive association between care home stability, in terms of leadership and staff
turnover, and uptake of the programme. Care home ownership, type of care home, size of care home, previous training in EoL care and resident characteristics were not associated with programme completion. Working with facilitators was important to trainers, but insufficient to compensate for organisational turbulence. Variability of uptake was also linked to
management support, programme fit with the trainers’ roles and responsibilities and their opportunities to work with staff on a daily basis.
Conclusion: When there is organisational stability, peer to peer approaches to skills training in end of life care can, with expert facilitation, cascade and sustain learning in care homes
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2016


  • End-of-life care, training
  • programme implementation


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