End of life care

Supporting someone at the end of their life

Workforce development is key to providing high quality, person-centred end of life care.

Supporting someone who may be approaching the end of their life can be some of the most challenging work that any social care or health worker faces. This means that staff need the right skills and knowledge to do their job competently and confidently, and the right learning and development can help.

Managers also need to make sure that their service has enough trained staff to meet the needs and wishes of the people they support.

Our resources will support adult social care staff, and their managers, to develop their skills and knowledge in end of life care.

This page is divided into the following sections:

Essential skills and knowledge Training resources

eLearning Funding Covid-19 guidance

Essential skills and knowledge

If new staff will be working with people who are their end of life, the following should form part of their induction.

The ‘End of life core skills education and training framework’ outlines the core skills and knowledge that staff need to support people at their end of life.

You can use the standards to support a training needs analysis in your service - staff, managers and services can use the standards to see whether they have the skills and knowledge needed to provide a good service for people at their end of life and identify any gaps.

If you’re involved in designing or commissioning training, we recommend that the training meets these standards, and that you assess competence against the standards. 

Download the framework.

The common core principles and competencies for social care and health workers working with adults at their end of life

This guide outlines the principles of high quality end of life care. It’s aimed at non-specialist workers and describes the competences, knowledge and values they should have.

Download the principles

The Care Certificate is an agreed set of standards that sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours expected of specific job roles in the health and social care sectors. It's made up of the 15 minimum standards that should be covered if you are 'new to care' and should form part of a robust induction programme.

There isn’t a standard specific to end of life care, but standard 1 ensures that all staff understand their main duties and responsibilities, and know the standards and codes of conduct and practice that relate to their role.

Find out more about the Care Certificate, and download free resources to support induction


Training Resources

Ongoing learning and development ensures that everyone works in line with current regulation and standards of good practice. It can help you to improve your service, drive important changes and motivate your workers.

This training resource is based on the story of Josh Cawley, who was 22 when he died from the catastrophic injuries that his birth parents inflicted on him, which resulted in his inability to speak or to move from his wheelchair. He was adopted by Lynn Cawley whose devotion to Josh ensured that he lived his short life as positively and ‘normally’ as possible. 

Skills for Care worked with Royal College of Nursing and Hospice UK to develop two training resources, a film and a handbook, based on Josh’s story.

Adult social care staff can work through Josh’s journey and consider it in light of their own roles and responsibilities, to think about how they can improve their own end of life care practice. The facilitators handbook has ideas and activities to promote discussion, reflection, learning and action. 

Download the free training resources. 

Working together to improve end of life care through better integration

This training pack increases awareness and understanding of how everyone can work together to improve end of life care.

It includes a film and booklet to help people to understand all the different job roles that may be involved in someone’s end of life care, and how they can work well together.

You can use the pack as part of a learning and development session, or to prompt and facilitate discussion in team meetings.

The pack includes:

There’s also a booklet and films about the different roles that might be involved in providing end of life care for someone.

o   ‘Understanding roles: working together to improve end of life care’ booklet

o   Overview film of all roles

Films of different roles:

The pack was developed with employers through a research project that aimed to find out what mattered most to people at their end of life. You can read a summary of this work, and the evaluation report evaluation report.

Training resources: for domiciliary care providers

‘Real stories, real insight' training resources are for domiciliary care staff and can be used for training or as part of a team discussion:

·       guidance on how to use the resources

·       a ready-made powerpoint presentation for trainers including guidance notes

·       a short film – ‘real stories: real insight’ showcases NHS Hull and NHS Wakefield District, who consider how domiciliary care workers can be key within a multi-disciplinary team.

·       support materials including competenceshelp for others to replicate and a list of published materials.

The training resource was developed in partnership with Bridgesfm for employers and/or managers of domiciliary care workers.



An updated learning path has been added to the e-learning programme End of Life Care for All, designed to help care workers who care for people in the last days of life, and to offer support for their families.

Click here to read more about the updated eLearning pathway.

e-ELCA offers around 150 interactive eLearning sessions on end of life care, including assessment, advanced care planning, symptom management and communication skills.

There’s also a training needs analysis to identify what learning and development you and your workforce need.

Access this free eLearning.  


Finding high quality learning and development

We can help you choose the right learning and the right provider for you.

Our 'Guide to developing your staff' can help you select the right learning for your staff and service.

We can also help you to find high quality learning providers. Skills for Care Endorsement finds and badges learning providers who we see as the best. Our endorsed providers deliver high quality learning and development to the social care sector.

Search for endorsed providers in our online directory.

Funding for training and qualifications

Adult social care employers can claim back a contribution towards the cost of qualifications and learning programmes through our Workforce Development Fund (WDF).

The 2019-20 WDF provides funding towards various awards, certificates and a learning programme, offered by our endorsed providers, in end of life care.

Find out more.

 COVID-19 Guidance

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than ever, people working in health and social care who may not be specialists in this area are finding themselves working with people who are dying, or whose condition is deteriorating rapidly. We have resources to support you.

  • Our 'Common core principles' have been adapted to support all those working with adults at the end of their life and focuses on the underpinning competences, knowledge and values needed.
  • Our 'End of life care support' supplement uses the principles in practice and draws on examples from the ‘Good and outstanding care guide’, with key points to note and useful end of life care COVID-19 links for further information.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 makes special arrangements for verifying an expected death with clinical remote support in a community setting, such as care homes, supported living accommodation or when a person receives care in their own home.​

Skills for Care, commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement as part of the national Palliative and End of Life Care response to COVID-19 have developed resources for verifying an expected death (VOED) in line with the recently published government guidance.

⇨ See the 'COVID-19: verifying death in times of emergency' government guidance


We recognise that some may welcome these resources, whilst some may not feel comfortable or prepared to undertake VOED with remote support. No-one should feel pressured to verify a death.

⇨ Download the VOED supportive guidance
⇨ Download the step-by-step process infographic
⇨ Download the VOED pocket prompt card

You can also view end of life and VOED recorded webinars here

Video: VOED Clinical remote support

Claire Henry, Skills for Care Associate and end of life expert talks about what providers and Registered Managers should consider to plan and prepare for the verification of expected death.

⇨ Watch the video