Context: High-quality advance care planning (ACP) discussions are important to ensure patient receipt of goal-concordant care; however, there is no existing tool for assessing ACP communication quality.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to develop and validate a novel instrument that can be used to assess ACP communication skills of clinicians and trainees.
Methods: We developed a 20-item ACP Communication Assessment Tool (ACP-CAT) plus two summative items. Randomized rater pairs assessed residents' performances in video-recorded standardized patient encounters before and after an ACP training program using the ACP-CAT. We tested the tool for its 1) discriminating ability, 2) interrater reliability, 3) concurrent validity, 4) feasibility, and 5) raters' satisfaction.
Results: Fifty-eight pre/post-training video recordings from 29 first-year internal medicine residents at Mount Sinai Hospital were evaluated. ACP-CAT reliably discriminated performance before and after training (median score 6 vs. 11, P < 0.001). For both pre/post-training encounters, interrater reliability was high for ACP-CAT total scores (intraclass correlation coefficient or ICC = 0.83 and 0.82) and the summative items Overall impression of ACP communication skills (ICC = 0.73 and 0.80) and Overall ability to respond to emotion (ICC = 0.83 and 0.82). Concurrent validity was shown by the strong correlation between ACP-CAT total score and both summative items. Raters spent an average of 4.8 minutes to complete the ACP-CAT, found it feasible, and were satisfied with its use.
Conclusion: ACP-CAT provides a validated measure of ACP communication quality for assessing video-recorded encounters and can be further studied for its applicability with clinicians in different clinical contexts.
Within weeks, COVID-19 has transformed our practice of palliative care and clinical medicine as we know it. Telemedicine has emerged as a critical technology to bring medical care to patients while attempting to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 among patients, families, and clinicians. It is also increasingly necessary to preserve scarce resources like personal protective equipment. In this article, we share just-in-time tips to support palliative care clinicians and program leaders in providing the best care possible by telemedicine. These quick, practical tips cover telemedicine setup, patient considerations, and clinician considerations. Next steps include ensuring equitable access to affordable telemedicine technology for vulnerable populations through creative solutions and financing, and dedicated attention to telemedicine evaluation and quality improvement.
BACKGROUND: Effective leadership is necessary to meet the complex care needs of patients with serious, life-limiting illness. The Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns Scholars Program is advancing leadership in palliative care through supporting emerging leaders. The 2016 Cohort has implemented a range of projects to promote their leadership development.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the leadership themes emerging from individual project implementation of the 2016 Sojourns Leadership.
METHODS: We summarize the synthesized leadership themes derived from both remote and in-person meetings and written reflections of the 2016 Cambia Sojourn Leadership Cohort.
RESULTS: The 2016 Cambia Sojourn Leadership Scholar Cohort projects are described. We identified three leadership themes related to palliative care initiatives: openness and flexibility, partnership and team building, and leveraging expertise and risk.
DISCUSSION: Unprecedented challenges in a rapidly changing health environment demand palliative care leadership to influence care quality, delivery, policy, and clinical care. Flexibility and openness; partnership and team building; and expertise to implement change emerged as critical themes to advancing the care of patients with serious, life-limiting illness. These leadership themes are consistent with both previous Cambia Sojourns Scholar cohorts and the literature, are essential for the next generation of leaders to implement new models of quality palliative care, payment for palliative care, and education for patients, caregivers, and health care providers.
CONCLUSION: In order to design and implement quality palliative care, leadership development is essential. Use of flexibility and openness; partnership and team building; and expertise to implement change are important themes for success. Whether through the Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns Leadership Program or opportunities within professional organizations, cultivation of the next generation of leaders is critical.
BACKGROUND: Outpatient palliative care (PC) has been shown to positively impact quality of life and decrease healthcare utilization, but there are limited data describing what activities render these benefits.
OBJECTIVE: Describe the topics addressed by an outpatient PC team during scheduled visits.
DESIGN: Longitudinal cohort study.
SETTING: The Symptom Management Service, an ambulatory PC program at an academic comprehensive cancer center.
MEASUREMENT: Between March 23, 2015 and June 14, 2016, outpatient PC providers completed a checklist after each clinic visit, documenting topics covered during the visit.
RESULTS: During the study period, 1243 visits were conducted for 577 unique patients. Symptom management was the topic most commonly addressed during initial visits (in 92% of visits), followed by an introduction of PC (69%), support for family caregivers (47%), and communication with other clinicians (38%). Providers also supported patients to understand their prognosis (28%), treatment options (36%), and to make care decisions (22%). Formal advance care planning activities occurred infrequently, however, including designation of a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (26%), completion of an advance directive or Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form (10%), and discussing hospice (8%). Follow-up visits were dominated by symptom management (93%) and caregiver support (27%).
CONCLUSIONS: Symptom management, support for family and caregivers, and care coordination are the most common activities that occurred during scheduled outpatient PC visits. These findings can guide developing PC practices, as well as clinicians who provide primary PC.