Human rights education in palliative care – an evaluation of a national training programme

Jacqueline Graves, Amunpreet Boyal, Tracey Shields, Roger Newham, Alistair Hewison, Louise Terry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper aims to report findings of a service evaluation using a human rights-based approach in the training and education of staff in palliative settings.

Design/methodology/approach: A non-randomly sampled, uncontrolled, pre- and post-test design. Data was collected at three points over a six-month period during the period April 2017 to September 2019. As a service evaluation no ethical approval was required. Consent was implied by self-completion and submission of questionnaires. In total, 1,402 people attended the training, 480 completed pre- and post-training questionnaires (146 completed the questionnaire at six months), with 86 completing a questionnaire at all three data collection points.

Findings: Findings show increased levels of self-reported knowledge and confidence at two weeks and six months post-training. Implementing human rights in the workplace is complex. Difficulties maintaining knowledge and keeping up to date with changes in legislation and traditional ways of working were cited as barriers to service users’ human rights.

Research limitations/implications: More evaluation is required to ensure the positive elements in this evaluation can be applied more widely.

Practical implications: Human rights education has a contribution to make in supporting staff to manage the challenges involved. It may also increase the complexity of decision-making. Training needs to incorporate systems wide approaches and its benefits measured.

Social implications: The aim was to provide staff with the knowledge to make objective and proportionate decisions about personalised care. The assumption was this would help improve the experience of end of life care.

Originality/value: This is the first evaluation in the UK that we are aware of that has examined the impact of human rights education on end of life care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-451
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare
Issue number5
Early online date13 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2021


  • Training
  • Human rights
  • End of Life


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