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Communication skills are key in WHO guide to palliative care services

10 November 2016

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a guide to planning and implementing palliative care services, which puts communication skills at the core of such services.  The WHO recommends that communication skills training is received by: untrained and trained community-based volunteers, community health workers, hospital-based doctors and nurses for adult and children’s services,  paediatric auxiliary nurses, paediatric social workers, teachers, chaplains and neonatologists.

The SAGE & THYME foundation level workshop can provide the competencies needed by providing non-advanced communication skills training.

The sample curriculum for a 16 hour training programme for community volunteers suggests that they have 6 hours covering: basics of communication, breaking bed news, addressing emotional reactions and offering emotional support.  The SAGE & THYME foundation level workshop lasts only 3 hours and covers the basics of communication, addressing distress and concerns and teaches how to offer patient-centred emotional support.