Care home workforce: how do they learn how to care for the dying?

Teggi, Diana (2019). Care home workforce: how do they learn how to care for the dying? In: The 14th International Conference on the Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal, DDD14, 4-7 Sep 2019, University of Bath.



In England today, 22.6 of all deaths happen in a residential or nursing care home. Notwithstanding this, there are no national standards nor workforce training requirements for end of life care (EOLC) in care homes. Thus, how the ‘art and craft’ of the care of the dying is transmitted in care homes becomes crucial. While nurses form part of the staff operating in care homes, this paper will focus on care assistants as they constitute the bulk of the workforce and their professional development follows no standardised pathway such as a degree in nursing. Rather, carers obtain work-based qualifications as they are already employed by a provider. Moreover, we know very little about how worthy careers for care assistants are supported (or not) and the consequences this has for the sector. Since education and training for care assistants is provided in-house, this is expected to produce great variation in EOLC expertise and practice. Based on the first part of my PhD fieldwork, this paper will describe current practices in relation to workforce education and training about death & dying in care homes. Furthermore, it will explore whether these vary according to the market structure and political economy of the sector.

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