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End of life care guidance: Learning materials

The GMC's guidance, Treatment and care towards the end of life: good practice in decision making (2010) sets out the ethical principles underpinning good end of life care, and provides advice to support doctors in approaching these often complex and difficult situations.

These pages contain the additional materials we have published to support the guidance.

We hope that they will help doctors and others to understand how the principles in the guidance apply in practice.

All paragraph numbers in the flowchart, vignettes and case studies refer to the GMC's guidance Treatment and care towards the end of life: good practice in decision making (2010) (469 kb, pdf).

e-learning session

A new e-learning session focusing on the General Medical Council’s (GMC) new guidance on treatment and care towards the end of life is now available to all doctors via e-ELCA (the e-learning programme commissioned by the Department of Health to support the national End of Life Care Strategy).

The session, Treatment and care towards the end of life: good practice in decision making, explains the key principles in the guidance and helps doctors to apply the principles in the guidance to some of the common challenges that arise when caring for patients towards the end of life. Doctors can log in to complete the session using their GMC number on the e-learning for healthcare website.

Flow chart and vignettes

We have developed a flow chart that sets out the decision making process where questions arise about a patient’s capacity to make their own decisions. We have also produced five short vignettes, which illustrate key points in the flowchart.  The vignettes and case studies included in these supporting materials highlight some of the key issues and principles covered in the guidance.

View the flowchart and its vignettes.

Case studies

We have developed two longer case studies on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH), issues that we know can be particularly difficult for doctors, members of the healthcare team, patients and those close to them:

  • Case study 1 - explores issues arising from decisions about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Case study 2 - explores issues arising from clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH).

GMP in Action

GMP in Action is an interactive web section which brings the GMC's ethical guidance to life.

You get to choose what the doctor should do in a series of case studies highlighting how the principles in our guidance might work in practice.

The following case studies explore issues covered in Treatment and care towards the end of life: good practice in decision-makingPlease note that when you access the interactive case studies, you must first click on the receptionist.

Mrs Conti has heart failure, her prognosis is very poor and she wishes to be discharged home. The clinical team think that CPR should not be attempted if Mrs Conti's heart stops. How should they approach this discussion with her and her family? Decide what the doctor should do    
Mr Hartley has had treatment for abdominal cancer but his condition is deteriorating and he is refusing further surgery. There is disagreement between his adult children, Clementine and Robert, about whether to continue with active treatment. Should the doctors accept Mr Hartley's refusal? And what can they do to help resolve the conflict within the family? Decide what the doctors should do.

 

Please Note

The vignettes and case studies are fictional and for illustration purposes only.

They provide examples of how the decision-making model in the guidance might work in practice.

Neither the flow chart nor associated material represent GMC guidance or policy in themselves, nor are they intended to replace Treatment and care towards the end of life: good practice in decision making (2010) or any other GMC guidance.

 

Download the guidance

Download the learning materials