Article Text

Barriers to Effective End-Of-Life Nursing Care Out-Of-Hours
  1. Nicola Hillman, Community Staff Nurse
  1. Rapid Response Nursing Team (part of the Community Intermediate Care Team), Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, and MSc Student, Supportive and Palliative Care, Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Sheffield Hallam University. Email: N.Hillman{at}


The End of Life Care Strategy recommended that terminally ill patients living at home must have access to community out-of-hours end-of-life care services. The Strategy particularly emphasised that rapid-response community nursing services should be made available in all areas, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The lack of end-of-life care out-of-hours services can lead to terminally ill and dying patients who want to be cared for at home being admitted unnecessarily to hospital. The number of out-of-hours end-of-life care services has started to increase. However, there are significant variations in terms of service availability and service quality and patients/carers are still experiencing barriers in accessing out-of-hours community care. This article will highlight how lack of information about the out-of-hours service, inadequate nursing communication skills and poor inter-professional communication can have a negative impact on care. It is suggested that effective information provision early in community palliative care could positively impact out-of-hours palliative/end-of-life care nursing services. Conflicts of interest: none

  • Community nursing
  • Palliative and end-of-life care
  • Preferred place of care
  • Rapid-response out-of-hours palliative and end-of-life care

Statistics from

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.