End of life care

A person helping another person to stand

Caring for and supporting people approaching the end of their life is considered the most challenging work any health and social care worker faces. It can also be the most rewarding - if they have the right knowledge, skills and attitude to provide the care and support they need.

Traditionally end of life care has been viewed as a specialist area of work. In reality it incorporates all elements of the daily lives of people nearing the end of their lives. A quality experience of social care is now seen as pivotal to those individuals at the end of their lives.

Whilst Skills for Care does not deliver training, we have produced a number of resources to support those working in adult social care to develop their skills and knowledge in this area.

A leaflet which gives an overview of the support that we can offer to those who work with people at the end of their lives can be downloaded here

New: If you are looking for the training pack for front line workers please click on the heading 'Integrated working' below and follow the link. This includes the new film and accompanying booklet which helps people to understand all of the different job roles that may be involved in someone's end of life care. 

People nearing the end of life often need specialist care and support but increasingly, people working in social and health care who are not specialists find themselves working with people who are dying.

This guide is aimed at those non specialist workers, and their managers, and sets out the principles for working with adults at the end of their life, and describes the underpinning competences, knowledge and values they should have. It has been developed in partnership with Skills for Health.

Common core principles and competences for social care and health workers working with adults at the end of life

Skills for Care has created a guide to workforce development to support social care and health workers to apply the common core principles and competences for end of life care.

Developed in partnership with Skills for Health and the National End of Life Care Programme, the guide aims to ensure that workers involved in supporting someone who is at the end of their life are properly trained to be able to undertake their work effectively and appropriately.

Each section gives an explanation of the area of work and includes important links to further information and resources. There is also a 'practice scenario' to show how the competences are connected and how they can be used to help in developing services and ensuring that workers are appropriately trained and skilled.

Skills for Care has developed end of life care qualifications in conjunction with a wide range of employers to equip workers to not only recognise end of life situations but to manage them more effectively. They are aimed at all learners in health and social care with an interest in end of life care.

The qualifications available are:

  • Level 2 and 3 Awards Awareness of End of Life Care
  • Level 3 Certificate in working in End of Life Care
  • Level 5 Certificate in Leading and Managing Services to Support End of Life and Significant Life Events

For more information and to find out which is the most relevant for you visit our Skill Selector.

The qualifications help adult social care employers support the National End of Life Strategy and also build on the work of common core competences and principles for end of life care.

National end of life care qualifications – a guide for employers and learners

End of life care learning materials have been produced by St. Luke's Hospice, Plymouth under contract to Skills for Care. They cover each end of life core specific units within the end of life care qualifications.

A free e-learning resource about end of life care is available. Find out how to access it by clicking here and then clicking on the e-learning section.

The Six Steps Programme was originally developed as a programme of learning for care homes to develop awareness and knowledge of end of life care. It has been implemented successfully in other settings and is now being adopted throughout the country.

Skills for Care has worked with the original developers and St. Luke's Hospice, Plymouth to explore the links between the end of life care qualifications and the Six Steps Programme to encourage the progression of learners from the programme onto qualifications. 

A tool has been developed to map the Six Steps Programme to the core units in the qualifications. It demonstrates how learning outcomes in the programme can produce evidence that could be used for assessment towards core units in end of life care qualifications.

End of life care qualifications and Six Steps Programme - core unit mapping tool

Working together: Improving end of life care through better integration

A new training pack has been developed which aims to increase awareness and understanding of how everyone involved can work together to improve end of life care. To find out more and to download the free resources please click here

Training for domiciliary care staff

A training resource is available for employers and/or managers of domiciliary care workers to use as part of their usual end of life care training and development or as part of a team discussion. It aims to improve end of life care by domiciliary care staff. The following resources can be downloaded to enable people to deliver a training session:

The training pack has been developed in partnership with Bridgesfm and produced at the request of employers. It is based on a number of workshops that were run on the topic of how domiciliary care workers can be key when it comes to caring for someone at the end of their life.

Adult social care employers registered with the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC) can now access e-End of Life Care for All (e-ELCA) - a free and innovative e-learning resource from Health Education England’s eLearning for Healthcare.

It offers around 150 easy to use and interactive e-learning sessions covering all aspects of end of life care such as assessment, advance care planning, symptom management and communication skills. Many of the sessions can provide valuable learning opportunities for all staff in social care.

e-ELCA can be used as a standalone resource or part of blended learning for individuals or group working.

NEW - The resource now includes a specific section related to ‘Priorities for care of the dying person’. Within this is a new training needs analysis session to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and direct you to e-ELCA sessions to support your development. In addition there are specific learning paths for different roles including social care managers and workers which suggest core and additional e-ELCA sessions to support that role.

Mapping of the e-ELCA modules to the end of life qualifications units is now available below. There are 14 units which form the core of the qualifications and the e-ELCA modules identified can support learning for each unit as specified.

Employers registered with the NMDS-SC will have access to a user registration code. The code will enable each of their individual employees to self-register for access to e-ELCA at www.e-lfh.org.uk/nmds-sc.

If you would like to register with the NMDS-SC to receive the user registration code, visit www.nmds-sc-online.org.uk.


Learn from Others is Skills for Care’s new online resource providing a home for good practice emerging from employers.  This includes learning from those involved in delivering End of life care. 

The free to use resource incorporates written and video case studies, learning materials as well as signposting employers to related resources from Skills for Care and other organisations.

Our new Recommendations for CQC Providers Guide includes a section around induction related training, including further information about dementia awareness.

The section includes what generally should be covered by the training, who should deliver the training, how competence should be signed off, recommended resources and what formal qualifications could be considered.

Skills for Care does not directly deliver training but the resource can help employers to consider what they need to cover with care workers to effectively induct them.

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