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Exploring the delivery of end-of-life care by community nurses

02 November 2023
Volume 28 · Issue 11


This study tested a method to capture feedback from bereaved family members and nurses about palliative and end of life care delivered in the community.


To understand what aspects of care and support were important to bereaved relatives and to explore the experiences of nurses delivering end of life care.


Interviews and focus groups were undertaken with 17 family members, 31 community nurses and 13 community hospital staff. A workshop was held with 6 family members, 13 community nurses and 3 hospital nurses to review findings and make recommendations for improvement.


Four themes were identified: relationships and being treated as a whole person; being able to make choices; getting help when and where it is needed; specialist advice and care, especially at the very end of life.


Seeking feedback from relatives was valued both by family members and the staff and has provided an effective model to lead to focussed improvements.

This paper presents the findings of a study undertaken in 2021–2022 in Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership in Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government and the Marie Curie Foundation. It aimed to explore ways to capture feedback from bereaved family members and nurses about palliative and end-of-life care (EOLC) delivered by district nursing teams and in a community hospital. The study included a workshop held with staff and family members to reflect on the themes from the data and make recommendations to future care.

Community nursing services across the UK have faced unprecedented pressures both before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, including the provision of palliative and EOLC (Mitchell et al, 2021). It has been projected that in Scotland, there will be a 20% increase in the number of people requiring palliative care by 2040 (Finucane et al, 2021), with increasing complexities associated with multi-morbidities, including dementia (Gardiner and Bolton, 2021). There is evidence that, even prior to the pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of people seeking palliative and EOLC in their own homes (Midlov and Lindberg, 2019).

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