Communication Skills

Communication Skills

What we know

Clear communication is an essential ingredient of quality palliative care. Good end-of-life communication involves the ability to both give and receive information at a time where strong emotions and stress can affect even the most experienced clinician. For health professionals, having as much information as possible from the patient is vital to ensure any plans and decisions are inclusive and that staff are advocating appropriately for them. Ongoing refresher training can help palliative care staff to improve their skills in discussing end-of-life (EoL).

What can I do?

Use the VITALTalk Tips to improve your communication skills. 

Seize or create opportunities to improve your communication skills either through your organisation, through a professional or a peak body or online.

If organising a case conference, use the fillable forms from the PA Toolkit:


What can I learn?

Visit the Education section of CareSearch to learn more about the whole of workforce education framework.

Read: Warnecke E. The art of communication. Aust Fam Physician. 2014 Mar;43(3):156-8.

Complete these online learning modules:
Use the Making Communication Even Better workbook from NHS Scotland to improve your own communication skills and make your service more accessible for people with communication support needs.

Do one or more modules from TEL Talking End of Life to learn how to best talk about death, dying, loss, grief and mourning with people with a disability.

Use the PCC4U online learning modules to learn about: Read the Clinical Care and Key Processes modules in the PA Toolkit to learn how good communication underpins good practice; and how to use tools in the PA Toolkit.

Watch a video: Ten steps for what to say and do.

Use education modules and resources in End-of-Life Essentials. Perhaps start with:   Use the e-learning resource from the NHS (UK) communication skills from End of Life care For All (e-ELCA). 


What can my organisation do?

Look at developing in-house training in communication skills.

Identify appropriate education resources for staff.

Encourage and support ongoing education and development of communication skills – professional and interprofessional


Page updated 22 May 2017