St Wilfrid’s Hospice (Eastbourne) has developed educational days to provide health professionals and students with a co-ordinated and consistent insight into hospice and palliative care.

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Project and outcomes


Project overview

St Wilfrid’s Hospice had a large number of requests from health professionals and students on health care courses who wanted to learn more about palliative and end of life care. This included the local ambulance trust, physician associates and nurses training for advanced practice.

Although the hospice was keen to support these requests, it was difficult for them to meet with the demand. Training and work shadowing was being provided on an ad hoc basis, and professionals were seeing different aspects of the hospice depending on the case loads and capacity of the teams they were assigned to. This meant they did not always get opportunities to meet their learning objectives.

St Wilfrid’s wanted to find a way to consistently meet these health professionals’ needs, within the hospice’s capacity and resources.


Juliet Bennett, St Wilfrid’s Professional Development Lead, worked with the clinical team to develop a programme for a free one-day educational course. This enabled them to provide a consistent experience and cover the most commonly requested learning objectives.

The day includes a tour of the building and facilities, with active learning sessions on:

  • the philosophy of end of life care and the hospice movement
  • the stigma of death and dying and cultural differences
  • national guidelines for palliative and end of life care
  • hospice services & the referral process (including inpatient and community services)
  • advance care planning
  • case studies and myth busting 
  • identifying the last year of life
  • an overview of symptom management
  • rehabilitative palliative care.

The first two training days were attended by 16 professionals including student nurses and physiotherapists, paramedics, district nurses and occupational therapists.

Initial evaluations from learners has been positive, and this method of delivery is much more cost effective for the hospice.

Early anecdotal evidence suggests that these training days could also have a positive impact on recruitment, by building strong relationships with health professionals and raising awareness of the hospice and the care provided. One learner has already arranged a six week placement following their training day.


A thoroughly insightful and educational day on end of life care, signs, symptoms, and emergencies

Training day participant

Facilitators, challenges and advice


Key facilitators

The hospice introduced an application process to help manage demand for learning activities. As part of their application, professionals need to specify their learning objectives. This helped Juliet Bennett identify recurring training needs, which informed the agenda for the training day.

Juliet put out a call for hospice staff to present on different topics at the training day. There was a lot of interest from staff, and three clinical nurse specialists are now involved in delivering some of the content on a rotational basis.


There is a lot of learning to fit into one day, so the training needs to be fast-paced. The team use a range of methods such as group work, Q&A sessions and different presenters to break up the day and keep people engaged.

Hospice staff have been keen to get involved in the training, but they do not always have the capacity to take part. In the long term, the team might need to consider backfilling hours.

Tips and advice


Have a robust application process. Ask people why they are interested in hospice care, and what their learning objectives are. Make sure they have the backing of their training provider/workplace. 

Build in an evaluation process. Ask learners to agree to take part in evaluation when they register – don’t leave it to the end! 

Administrative support is vital to organise the logistics of the day and liaise with learners.

Make sure you find out about and accommodate learner’s individual needs, for example dietary requirements, learning support needs and disabilities/access needs.

Check in with your learners at the start and end of the day. Death and dying is a sensitive topic that people will have different experiences of. It is important to provide a psychologically safe space.

Future development


The hospice has more training days planned, and will be carrying out a full evaluation after a few more have taken place. This will enable them to review and improve the offer.

Juliet Bennett has already been asked to share learning from this project with other hospices in the area.

More information and resources