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Having Good Conversations

We need to have good conversations where we can talk openly and honestly about people’s wishes and their health goals. We also need to make sure they have all the information they need to make informed choices and understand the benefits and limitations of different treatments.

Getting Started

Good communication is the key to success. Some people will not have considered these topics before. It is important that you give them time and space to reflect before having these conversations.

It may be useful to have an introductory conversation with people and those that matter to them, explaining that you would like to have further conversations soon. You can signpost them to the information in these pages.

Raising Important Topics

These discussions are really important; however we understand that some staff members might not always feel comfortable having them.  Try not to overcomplicate the matter – we can often start conversations with a simple question like ‘what matters to you?’ or ‘how would you feel if you have to go to hospital?’ and we often find that people are keen to discuss this, as are those who matter to them.

What should we DISCUSS?

We have created some resources to help you think about the different topics you could talk about as part of an ACP Conversation. They use the “DISCUSS” framework

You may also feel like you don’t know enough about some topics to give advice to others. For example you might not feel able to answer some questions about DNRCPR, or you might be unsure of the level of support home care can give. If someone asks a question that you don’t know the answer to, be honest about this. Tell them you aren’t sure right now but you will find the information and get back to them. Talk to your colleagues to try and find out the necessary information or you can email

Training and Skills Practice

Communication is a skill which needs practice. There are lots of different courses and resources available to help you think about how to communicate with other. Here are some of our recommendations:

Face to Face Training Courses*

Sage & Thyme Communication Training

The MAP of Behaviour Change

NHSGGC Health Behaviour Change – 1 hour and 4 hour

*Please note that some of these course may not currently be running or may have moved to a virtual platform. 

Online Modules

We have created our own online module which gives you a general overview of Anticipatory Care Planning.

There are 2 Learnpro Modules we would suggest. Please note you will need to have a Learnpro account to access these.

GGC 028: Anticipatory Care Planning

GGC 053: Palliative End of Life Care

The NHSGGC Primary Care Palliative Care Team run a variety of online and face to face training, including sessions on ACPs, communication skills and DNACPR

Macmillan Learnzone Resources

Please note you will need to make an account. 

Suggested Courses: 

Changing children’s attitudes to death

Working with children pre-bereavement

Coronavirus: Communication and Difficult Conversations

Palliative and End of Life Care including Bereavement

Personalised Care and Support – Building on the Recovery Package

Supporting Carers: A Professional’s Toolkit

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) Resources

Please note you may need to make a TURAS account to access these resources. 

Suggested Courses:

Realistic Conversations – Shared Decision Making

Developing Practice Module 2

Building a Shared Understanding

Informed about palliative and end of life care

Other Resources

EC4H (Effective Communication For Healthcare)

Difficult Conversations – Talking About Death and Dying (Video)


Delivering Bad News Video – Irish Hospice Foundation