You Only Die Once - So how can we provide higher quality end of life care?

Well, here’s the bad news; you are going to die. And so am I. So how can we improve end of life care?

Blogging about death isn’t easy. We’d probably all rather be reading (or in my case; writing) something else: Shakespeare, Heat Magazine, Katie Price’s autobiography…Anything really. But it is an important subject if we want to die well or allow other people to die well.

Dying well may seem like a last resort for many; but for people with terminal conditions and elderly people, it has become as important as living well. And our reluctance to discuss death can allow this to take a backseat causing heartache and financial pressures when the time does come.

The Facts

There is around one death every three minutes in England and Wales. Some unexpected, and others get the chance to plan and be aware of what’s happening. But until this happens, we don’t tend to think about what we would want in the situation.

With a rapid rise in the number of people in the UK aged over 65 and an even larger rise anticipated in those aged over 80, most of us will die with long-term medical conditions and will start to heavily rely on health and social care services, making the need for a conversation about preferences in end-of-life care even more pressing.

Providing Quality and Compassion

So, how can we die well? When discussed early on, we allow ourselves choice: hospice care can offer support, security and can help control symptoms of conditions, whilst staying at home can offer perhaps the most dignity and control. Almost half of us still die in hospital despite many wanting to die at home, given the choice. Of course, the place of our death matters, but it is the quality and compassion of care from nurses, charities and specialists that truly provide a comfortable death for the individual and their family.

Good end-of-life care skills need to be everyone’s business. A bad death can no longer be tolerated. And with this in mind, I would like to highlight an upcoming course; Providing Quality and Compassion in End of Life Care on 25th April in Central London. This course will bring inclusion, diversity, conflict and support to light in end of life care for the individual, their family and friends.

Time to Change

Following the Review of End of Life Care (2015), the government was prompted to commit to providing a higher quality, personalised and accountable approach towards end of life provisions. We intend to ensure that every individual has the opportunity to access high quality, compassionate end of life care through hospices, hospitals and specialist organisations that attend this course.

This is still one of the most important and complicated challenges faced by health and social care professionals and their organisations. This subject needs to be handled with care. And for that reason we have confirmed many experienced and qualified speakers to provide highly interactive talks at Providing Quality and Compassion in End of Life Care including: Jonathan Ellis, Head of Policy at Hospice UK, Lucy Sutton, End of Life Care Lead at Health Education England, Programme Leader for Palliative Care at Northumbria University, Lead Nurse for End of Life Care at North East London NHS FT and Natalie Koussa, Interim Director of Partnerships & Services at Compassion in Dying.

This course will examine the five priorities of care and develop strategies to consistently deliver support for patients and their families. Delegates will also explore how to adapt to the NICE guidelines and implement the Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care

Through interactive sessions and extended workshops, delegates will work with the chair, Dr Suzanne Shale, to engage with the challenges of end of life care, with a particular focus on the issues of communication, inter-agency cooperation and staff management.

What about you?

Have you ever sat down to figure out how you would like to die? Or thought about your team and your own role in a person’s death? Any tips to improve quality in end of life care from your experience? Tweet us using #UMGTraining @UModernGov

Alternatively, If you would like to talk to member of our team about anything you have read in this blog; including Providing Quality and Compassion in End of Life Care on 7th December 2017, please contact us on 0800 542 9440 or email

What about your organisation?

Do you have a team of staff at your organisation who would benefit from Providing Quality and Compassion in End of Life Care training? We also offer this course as a highly flexible In-House training session, delivered direct to your organisation on a date to suit you. Contact our In-House Training team on to find out more.