This high-impact change sets out to improve the skills, confidence and capability of staff to develop personalised plans with service users and their carers.


Training for frontline staff addresses personal feelings, develops non-judgmental listening skills and provides staff with the skills to provide information. People feel that they are being treated with dignity and respect and staff feel empowered, competent and helpful.


The face-to-face relationship between the service provider and service user is vital in achieving positive outcomes. Workforce development, support and training are necessary to deliver this.


Personal dignity

Case study

The Anchor Trust began a two-year project in 2005 in partnership with Professor Malcolm Johnson from the International Institute of Health and Ageing and developed and delivered a three-day training programme in palliative care.

It included:

  • sharing information (for example, about cultural responses to dying and death, spirituality, funerals and funeral options);

  • reflection on each care home's current approach to death and dying;

  • exploration of personal feelings and how to listen non-judgmentally; palliative care and practice.

The training sessions took place in 22 different locations, from Newcastle to Cornwall. Day three of the sessions, which covered palliative care, was delivered by a hospice or community palliative care service. Four key members of staff from each of Anchor's residential and nursing homes (101 in total) were trained.

The project has transformed the way Anchor Trust staff approach the subject of death in their care homes. Staff now develop a personalised plan with the client and their relatives and are much more confident in breaking the taboos around death, helping address residents' natural concerns.

Each home is also encouraged to take an individual approach to end-of-life care, which has led to various innovative practices being adopted.

Staff said:

"It has given me confidence to cope with residents and families."

"I find it much easier to approach residents and their families."

"Both residents and staff talk more openly now about their end-of-life care."