Welcome to the Verification of Death competency learning resource.

pensive womenThis learning package is aimed at registered nurses who work in primary care, supportive care and/or nursing homes.

This package will support the development of your knowledge and skills to competently verify the 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 a number of local NHS Verification of Death policies.

To support your learning ensure you are aware of any particular 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 call-outs where resuscitation would be inappropriate
  • That death is dignified and care after death supports the bereaved.

Towards the end of this package is a ‘Self Assessment’ that provides questions to help you review your knowledge and learning. Please take time to ensure that you are prepared for the assessment. It is expected that you will achieve a minimum mark of 80% before you continue on to practice this competency. Following successful completion of the assessment, you will need to work with a practitioner colleague (for example, a District Nurse, Advanced Nurse Practitioner or General Practitioner) who is competent in the verification of death and will support the further development of your knowledge and skill. This person will then work with you to assess your competence to verify death.

You will find a Competency Workbook within this package that will help you to collate evidence of your learning and enable you to demonstrate evidence of your competence to verify death. You will 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 university we hope you find this useful in developing your learning and competence.  

Navigating the site

This site is divided up into sections related to the Online learning activities. Each online topic is displayed in the top menu with subsections (if relevant) down the left hand side

Click on the relevant topic and either use the menu links or the forwards and backwards links displayed at the top right of this page to navigate through the pages.


If you are interested in using this learning resource, please contact has.cpd@uwe.ac.uk or sign up at the UWE Online Store