This learning resource is aimed at nurses working in primary care, supportive care and care homes. It will support the development of your knowledge and skill to competently verify death of adults. It is not limited to any particular setting or situation, but enables the nurse to understand the procedure to verify death within the contexts of both expected and unexpected death (and the particular considerations for both situations).
This resource is based upon NHS North Somerset Verification of Death policy. To support your learning ensure you are aware of any other local policies that influence your verification of death. Be aware of the range of services within your locality and organisation that provide palliative, end of life, and bereavement support. Your development of the verification of death competency aims to contribute to the improvement of care and service in this area.
The rationale underpinning this extension of your role is to ensure;
- That the death of the patient is dealt with in a timely, sensitive and caring manner respecting the dignity of the patient, relatives and carers;
- The death of a patient is dealt in accordance with the law;
- The appropriate use of registered nurse skills and competencies;
- The reduction of delays that can lead to difficulties, in particular when patients may have parenteral medication sited for pain relief (such devices can be disconnected following verification);
- Prevention of unnecessary emergency ambulance callouts where resuscitation would be inappropriate
- That death is dignified and care after death supports the bereaved.
Towards the end is a ‘Self Assessment’ section that provides questions to help you review your knowledge and learning. Take time to ensure that you are prepared for the assessment. It is expected that you would achieve a minimum mark of 80% before you continue to practice this competency. Following successful completion of the assessment, you will need to work with a practitioner colleague (for example, DN or GP) who is competent in the verification of death and will support the further development of your skill. They will then work with you to assess your competence to verify death.
You’ll find the NHS North Somerset Competency Workbook including a sample Competency Worksheet
This will help you to collate evidence of your learning and enable you to demonstrate evidence of your competence to verify death. You’ll also find links to information that will help you build on your learning around the verification of death, and more widely to develop knowledge related to palliative, end of life, and bereavement care within the ‘Resources’ section.
On behalf of the development team we hope you find this useful in developing your learning and competence.
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