Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is today launching a support programme for care homes aimed at improving end of life care for people and their families.

The ‘Six Steps for Care Homes Programme’ is designed to enhance end of life care through facilitating organisational change and supporting staff to develop their skills and knowledge.

Originally developed and rolled out in the North West by the NHS, the programme includes facilitating advance care planning (ACP), anticipating the needs of residents, and giving staff the confidence and skills to have difficult conversations with residents and families.

At the launch, Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice invited 10 local care homes to sign up to the programme which can be delivered in a number of different ways – including tailored workshops – to support, educate and empower workers.

The purpose of the programme is to provide a low-cost and effective way for care home staff to improve resident and family experience of end of life care, whilst helping to reduce unnecessary and sometimes distressing hospital admissions.  

Lynne Partington from the Six Steps Programme, said: “We are delighted to hear Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is using the Six Steps for Care Homes Programme as a model to improve end of life care to care home staff. By having a dedicated care homes facilitation team, the Hospice will be able to create a stronger partnership between them and the independent care sector, helping to reduce costs for the NHS and improve quality of life for residents who are at the end of their life.”

Previous evaluations of the Six Steps Programme have already demonstrated an increase in care home staff’s knowledge and skills, helping to improve end of life care for residents. The Hospice is aiming to achieve similar results through their exciting new facilitation team. 

Kate Palmer, Care Homes Clinical Nurse Specialist, added: “As more people live longer and with a number of complex illnesses, we know that there will be an increase in the number of people living in care homes. That’s why we want to work in partnership with these organisations, to make sure staff have the right skills and knowledge to provide vital end of life care.

“Over the past six months, the Hospice has been scoping out exactly what education, training and support care homes across Birmingham need – we believe the Six Steps for Care Homes programme is the perfect model to help increase staff’s confidence in providing palliative support. What’s fantastic about this programme is that it will be a two-way partnership – so whilst we will be sharing our knowledge with care homes, we will also be listening to feedback and constantly evolving the programme to ensure we’re delivering the best possible service. By collaborating, we can make sure that more people who need vital end of life care are able to access it in a place of their choosing.”   

Care Homes across Birmingham and Sandwell will be able to ‘step on’ to the programme in January and ‘step off’ in August. To find out more about the service, please contact Kate Palmer on [email protected]