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Supporting and accelerating change through an online 'best interests' training resource and toolkit

Developments in case law and the fact that new guidelines were being developed by the relevant medical associations created the need for new training materials to ensure these changes were reflected in practice. This build on findings from our earlier research on patient pathways.

This project aimed to create accessible, engaging and up-to-date training materials for clinicians involved in making best interests decisions about feeding tubes for patients unable to make decisions for themselves.


The project included filming interviews with leading experts and practitioners on the front line – to ensure accurate accounts of law and guidance, alongside insights into how these were working on the ground.

The e-learning developed included modules on the social and political context of decision-making, accommodating ‘conscientious objection’ to particular outcomes, managing roles and relationships and how staff (and families) experienced witnessing deaths after feeding tube withdrawal.


This three-year project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).


The  project is under on-gong development to reflect a key Supreme Court ruling (August 2018) and the British Medical Association guidance which was published in December 2018

The project team

Principal investigator

Professor Jenny Kitzinger

Professor Jenny Kitzinger

Director of Research: Impact and Engagement and Co-Director of the Coma and Disorders of Consciousness Research Centre

Professor Celia Kitzinger

Honorary Professor