End-of-Life Care in Acute Hospitals: Practice Change Reported by Health Professionals Following Online Education

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Providing quality care for those dying in hospital is challenging for health professionals who receive little training in this. “End of Life Essentials” (EOLE) was developed to address gaps in health professionals’ knowledge, skills and confidence in end-of-life care via the provision of online learning modules and practice resources. This study aimed to determine whether respondents
could describe clinical practice change as a result of module completion. Deidentified data were collected between October and November 2018 from learners registered for the online learning modules. Both quantitative and qualitative data were extracted and analysed. The survey design
and conduct were reviewed, and ethical approval was obtained. Although the response rate was
very low, results from n = 122 learners show improvements in knowledge, skills, awareness and confidence as a result of the undertaking of the learning modules. Two thirds self-reported practice changes (71%, n = 59) following the education, with “communication” cited most commonly (n = 19). The findings suggest that the EOLE education modules can help to improve end-of-life care by
increasing health professionals’ awareness of good practice as well as their knowledge, skills and confidence. Online learning has also been reinforced as an appropriate forum for end-of-life education. Following education, implementing what has been learned occurs more easily at a personal level rather than at a team and organisational level. Barriers to and enablers of clinical practice change in hospital are described, including the fact that the organisation may not be responsive to changes or have the relevant resources to support change.
Original languageEnglish
Article number254
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

©2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution(CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)


  • hospital
  • end of life
  • e-learning
  • practice change;
  • healthcare professionals
  • education


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