End-of-life (EOL) care is a key aspect of critical care medicine (CCM) training. The goal of this study was to survey CCM residents and program directors (PDs) across Canada to describe current EOL care education. Using a literature review, we created a self-administered survey encompassing 10 CCM national objectives of training to address: (1) curricular content and evaluation methods, (2) residents' preparedness to meet these objectives, and (3) opportunities for educational improvement. We performed pilot testing and clinical sensibility testing, then distributed it to all residents and PDs across the 13 Canadian CCM programs. Our response rate was 84.3% overall (77 [81.1%] for residents and 13 [100%] for PDs). Residents rated direct observation, informal advice, and self-reflection as both the top 3 most utilized and perceived most effective teaching modalities. Residents most commonly reported comfort with skills related to pain and symptom management (n = 67, 94.3%; score > 3 on 5-point Likert scale), and least commonly reported comfort with donation after cardiac death skills (n = 26-38; 44.8%-65.5%). Base specialty and time in CCM training were independently associated with comfort ratings for some, but not all, EOL skills. With respect to family meetings, residents infrequently received feedback; however, most PDs believed feedback on 6 to 10 meetings is required for competence. When PD perceptions of teaching effectiveness were compared with resident comfort ratings, differences were most apparent for skills related to pain and symptom management, cultural awareness, and ethical principles. By the end of their first subspecialty training year, PDs expect residents to be competent at most, but not all, EOL skills. In summary, trainees and programs rely on clinical activities to develop competency in EOL care, resulting in some educational gaps. Transitioning to competency-based medical education presents an opportunity to address some of these gaps, while other gaps will require more specific curricular intervention.
PURPOSE: The 3 Wishes Project (3WP) promotes holistic end-of-life care in the intensive care unit (ICU) to honor dying patients, support families, and encourage clinician compassion. Organ donation is a wish that is sometimes made by, or on behalf of, critically ill patients. Our objective was to describe the interface between the 3WP and organ donation as experienced by families, clinicians, and organ donation coordinators.
METHODS: In a multicenter evaluation of the 3WP in 4 Canadian ICUs, we conducted a thematic analysis of transcripts from interviews and focus groups with clinicians, organ donation coordinators, and families of dying or died patients for whom donation was considered.
RESULTS: We analyzed transcripts from 26 interviews and 2 focus groups with 18 family members, 17 clinicians, and 6 organ donation coordinators. The central theme describes the mutual goals of the 3WP and organ donation-emphasizing personhood and agency across the temporal continuum of care. During family decision-making, conversations encouraged by the 3WP can facilitate preliminary discussions about donation. During preparation for donation, memory-making activities supported by the 3WP redirect focus toward personhood. During postmortem family care, the 3WP supports families, including when donation is unsuccessful, and highlights aspirational pursuits of donation while encouraging reflections on other fulfilled wishes.
CONCLUSIONS: Organ donation and the 3WP provide complementary opportunities to engage in value-based conversations during the dying process. The shared values of these programs may help to incorporate organ donation and death into a person's life narrative and incorporate new life into a person's death narrative.