Effectiveness of an experiential workshop for enhancing helping professionals’ self-competence in death work in Hong Kong: a randomised controlled trial

Wallace Chi Ho Chan*, Agnes Fong Tin, Karen Lok Yi Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Helping professionals require self-competence in coping with the existential and emotional challenges of death work. Previous training often focused on knowledge and skills rather than on this competence. This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of a 3-day workshop in Hong Kong to enhance helping professionals’ self-competence in death work. A randomised controlled trial was conducted to examine the effects of the training between January and May 2014. Targeted participants were helping professionals who had been doing death work for at least 6 months. The 112 participants were openly recruited from hospitals and NGOs and were assigned to an intervention group or a waitlist control group. Data were collected at pre-intervention and post-intervention. Primary outcome was self-competence in death work. All participants were grouped for analysing the changes in outcomes at pre-intervention, post-intervention and 3-month follow-up. Participants in the intervention group experienced a significant increase in the total score of the Self-competence in Death Work Scale (SC-DWS) and in scores of the Existential and Emotional subscales of SC-DWS. The positive effects of training on self-competence in death work were maintained at the 3-month follow-up. This study provides evidence of the effectiveness of training in enhancing helping professionals’ self-competence in death work. Further research is required to examine the long-term effects of training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1070-1079
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number3
Early online date21 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
Externally publishedYes

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