INTRODUCTION: It is widely recognized that physicians of all backgrounds benefit from having a general palliative care skillset to optimally manage their patients at the end of life. However, strategies to teach palliative care skills to trainees outside of palliative medicine vary widely. In this report, we provide an evidence-based, cross-disciplinary palliative care framework applicable to a spectrum of specialty training environments and intended for non-palliative care trainees.
INNOVATION: We developed and implemented a concise, multi-modal and evidence-based pilot palliative care curriculum focused on essential general palliative care skills required by physicians providing patient care along the continuum of life across specializations. A needs assessment (local research, literature review and consensus expert opinion) in combination with learner characteristics (Kolb learning style inventory, Palliative Medicine Comfort and Confidence Survey and knowledge pre-test) informed the development of a curricular outline. The first iteration of the curriculum was formulated and delivered. Extensive evaluation, reassessment and feedback led to a second iteration, which is presented here.
OUTCOMES: Although the context will differ according to specialization, there are essential palliative care skills required of most specialist physicians. General palliative themes identified for focus include symptom management, communication, psychosocial aspects of care, care coordination and access, and myths and pitfalls in palliative care.
COMMENT: Specialty trainees' value embedded training in essential themes in palliative care within the context of their training program. The process and results of this project, including the provision of a framework, may be applied to postgraduate training programs in various specialties.
BACKGROUND: Early integration of palliative care concurrently to standard cancer care is associated with several benefits for patients and their caregivers. However, communication barriers on part of the caring physicians often impede a timely referral to palliative care. This study describes the protocol of the evaluation of a communication skills training aiming to strengthen the ability of physicians to address palliative care related topics adequately and early during disease trajectory.
METHODS: We will implement a communication skills training and evaluate it within a prospective, multi-centered, two-armed randomized controlled trial (RCT), which will be conducted at four sites in Germany. Eligible subjects are all physicians treating patients with advanced cancer in their daily routine. An intervention group (IG) receiving a group training will be compared to a wait-list control group (CG) receiving the training after completion of data collection. At pre- and post-measurement points, participants will conduct videotaped conversations with standardized simulated patients (SP). Primary outcome will be the external rating of communication skills and consulting competencies addressing palliative care related topics. Secondary outcomes on core concepts of palliative care, basic knowledge, attitudes, confidence and self-efficacy will be assessed by standardized questionnaires and self-developed items. A further external assessment of the quality of physician-patient-interaction will be conducted by the SP. Longitudinal quantitative data will be analyzed using covariate-adjusted linear mixed-models.
DISCUSSION: If the communication skills training proves to be effective, it will provide a feasible intervention to promote an earlier communication of palliative care related topics in the care of advanced cancer patients. This would help to further establish early integration of palliative care as it is recommended by national and international guidelines.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the perception of attending physicians, medical residents, and undergraduate medical students about death and dying, the end of life (EoL), and palliative care (PC) during training and clinical practice, highlighting knowledge gaps, and the changes needed in medical school curricula.
METHOD: Cross-sectional study of 12 attending physicians, residents, and undergraduate medical students randomly selected from a single teaching hospital in São Paulo, Brazil, 2018. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, transcripts were coded in depth, and categorizing analysis was carried out.
RESULTS: Three topical categories were recognized: Negative feelings about death and the EoL, importance of PC, and gaps in curricular structure hindering preparedness for PC and EoL communication. Besides differing perspectives depending on their years of experience, all participants strongly endorsed that the current medical school curriculum does not train and support physicians to handle EoL and PC.
CONCLUSIONS: Medical education plays a fundamental role in the development of knowledge and skills on death, dying, and PC. Such practices should extend throughout the course and be continuously improved after graduates move to clinical practice.
BACKGROUND: There is a reliance on voluntary organisations in healthcare. Education is necessary to keep up-to-date with best practice. The authors' aim was to identify education priorities of voluntary organisations that support parents who experience pregnancy/perinatal loss, to inform the development of an education day.
METHOD: A modified Delphi study was undertaken to identify education needs. There were two Delphi rounds, inclusive of free text, where voluntary group experts reflected on responses in order to develop a consensus among the group.
RESULTS: There were 12 responses to Round One and seven responses to Round Two. From a list of 10 subjects, Round One identified 64 sub-topics, which were then determined as essential, desirable or not relevant in Round Two. The final 55 sub-topics were included in the education day.
CONCLUSION: This study identified educational needs of voluntary organisations. A standardised approach was necessary to develop an education day that is responsive to their learning needs.
BACKGROUND: Considering social cognitive theory and current literature about successful advance care planning in nursing homes, sufficient knowledge and self-efficacy are important preconditions for staff to be able to carry out advance care planning in practice.
AIM: Exploring to what extent nurses' knowledge about and self-efficacy is associated with their engagement in advance care planning in nursing homes.
DESIGN: Survey study as part of a baseline measurement of a randomised controlled cluster trial (NCT03521206).
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Nurses in a purposive sample of 14 nursing homes in Belgium.
METHODS: A survey was distributed among nurses, evaluating knowledge (11 true/false items), self-efficacy (12 roles and tasks on 10-point Likert-type scale) and six advance care planning practices (yes/no), ranging from performing advance care planning conversations to completing advance directives.
RESULTS: A total of 196 nurses participated (66% response rate). While knowledge was not significantly associated with advance care planning practices, self-efficacy was. One unit's increase in self-efficacy was statistically associated with an estimated 32% increase in the number of practices having carried out.
CONCLUSIONS: Nurses' engagement in advance care planning practices is mainly associated with their self-efficacy rather than their knowledge. Further research is necessary to improve the evidence regarding the causal relationship between constructs. However, these results suggest that educational programmes that focus solely on knowledge might not lead to increasing uptake of advance care planning in nurses.
Introduction: Pediatric residents are faced with ethical dilemmas in beginning- and end-of-life situations throughout their training. These situations are innately challenging, yet despite recommendations that residents receive training in ethics and end-of-life domains, they continue to report the need for additional training. To address these concerns, we developed an interactive and reflective palliative care and medical ethics curriculum including sessions focusing on ethical dilemmas at the beginning and end of life.
Methods: This module includes a trio of case-based, small-group discussions on artificial nutrition and hydration, futility, and ethical considerations in neonatology. Content was developed based on a needs assessment, input from local experts, and previously published material. Trainees completed assessments of comfort and understanding before and after each session.
Results: The module was attended and assessed by an average of 27 trainees per session, including residents and medical students. Knowledge of ethical considerations improved after individual sessions, with 86% of trainees reporting understanding ethical considerations involved in the decision to withdraw or withhold medically provided nutrition and hydration and 67% of trainees reporting understanding the use of the term futility. Trainee comfort in providing counseling or recommendations regarding specific ethical issues demonstrated a trend toward improvement but did not reach statistical significance.
Discussion: We successfully implemented this innovative module, which increased trainees' comfort with end-of-life care and ethical conflicts. Future studies should focus on the trainees' ability to implement these skills in clinical practice.
BACKGROUND: Many domiciliary care workers have reported low confidence and isolation when delivering end of life care in patients' homes. Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) is an initiative that has demonstrated success in increasing confidence and knowledge of end of life care in UK nursing home and community hospice workers, but it has not been evaluated with domiciliary care workers.
AIM: To test the acceptability of Project ECHO to domiciliary care workers as a means of increasing their knowledge of, and confidence in, delivering palliative care, and its effectiveness in reducing their isolation by developing a community of practice.
METHOD: A service evaluation, involving one domiciliary care agency delivering care in the community, was conducted from May 2018 to April 2019. The participants were 25 home care workers who were employed by the agency. Participants were invited to attend an event at which gaps in their knowledge were identified, and a curriculum of learning on the Project ECHO programme was developed. The learning involved 12 educational sessions over 12 months, with each session teaching a different component of palliative care. Questionnaires were completed by the participants before and after the educational sessions to assess their effect. In addition, a focus group was conducted with four of the participants.
RESULTS: Comparison of the questionnaires completed before and after participating in the education sessions revealed an increase in self-reported knowledge across all 12 topics of the curriculum and an increase in confidence in seven of the 12 topics. However, attendance across the 12 sessions was variable, with no more than nine being attended by any one participant.
CONCLUSION: Palliative care education for domiciliary care staff using ECHO methodology was well received, relevant and accessible, and may have the potential to improve self-assessed knowledge and confidence. However, finding an ideal time for as many staff to attend as possible may be challenging.
Individuals in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) account for approximately two-thirds of cancer deaths worldwide, and the vast majority of these deaths occur without access to essential palliative care (PC). Although resource-stratified guidelines are being developed that take into account the actual resources available within a given country, and several components of PC are available within health care systems, PC will never improve without a trained workforce. The design and implementation of PC provider training programs is the lynchpin for ensuring that all seriously ill patients have access to quality PC services. Building on the Breast Health Global Initiative's resource-stratified recommendations for provider education in PC, the authors report on efforts by the Jamaica Cancer Care and Research Institute in the Caribbean and the Universidad Católica in successfully developing and implementing PC training programs in the Caribbean and Latin America, respectively. Key aspects of this approach include: 1) fostering strategic academic partnerships to bring additional expertise and support to the effort; 2) careful adaptation of the curriculum to the local context and culture; 3) early identification of feasible metrics to facilitate program evaluation and future outcomes research; and 4) designing PC training programs to meet local health system needs.
Background: Multisource feedback provides ratings of a trainee doctor’s performance from a range of assessors and enables 360 degree feedback on communication skills and team working behaviours. It is a tool used throughout palliative medicine training in the UK. There are limited data on the value of multisource feedback from a palliative medicine trainee perspective.
Aim: To study the views of palliative medicine trainees regarding multisource feedback as an educational tool to develop communication skills.
Design: A multimodal study encompassing a focus group and questionnaire mailed to all deanery palliative doctors.
Setting/participants: All palliative medicine trainees within a UK training deanery.
Results: Over half of responding trainees thought multisource feedback had little or no impact on their clinical practice. Improvements in delivery of multisource feedback to maximise learning were identified, including skilled feedback and facilitation by educational supervisors.
Conclusions: Despite multisource feedback currently having limited benefits, a number of recommendations are suggested to improve this.
As nearly all doctors deal with patients requiring palliative care, it is imperative that palliative care education starts early. This study aimed to validate a national, palliative care competency framework for undergraduate medical curricula. We conducted a Delphi study with five groups of stakeholders (palliative care experts, physicians, nurses, curriculum coordinators, and junior doctors), inviting them to rate a competency list. The list was organized around six key competencies. For each competency, participants indicated the level to which students should have mastered the skill at the end of undergraduate training. Stability was reached after two rating rounds (N = 82 round 1, N = 54 round 2). The results showed high levels of agreement within and between stakeholder groups. Participants agreed that theoretical knowledge is not enough: Students must practice palliative care competencies, albeit to varying degrees. Overall, communication and personal development and well-being scored the highest: Junior doctors should be able to perform these in the workplace under close supervision. Advance care planning scored the lowest, indicating performance in a simulated setting. A wide range of stakeholders validated a palliative care competency framework for undergraduate medical curricula. This framework can be used to guide teaching about palliative care.
Interprofessional education allows students to collaborate with students and professionals of multiple disciplines. An Interdisciplinary Palliative Care (IPC) Seminar, held in the Midwest, involves students from disciplines of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work, and chaplaincy. The curriculum of the seminar incorporates asynchronous and synchronous didactic presentations, experiential learning through group exercises and discussion, along with home visits by students in interdisciplinary dyads. The purpose of this study was to determine whether students’ participation in a 3-week IPC seminar would positively influence their socialization and value of interprofessional collaboration with the ultimate goal of developing skilled professionals who engage in interprofessional practice in hospice and palliative care settings. This descriptive study invited participants to take a pre- and postseminar online survey using the Interprofessional Socialization and Valuing Scale-21 (ISVS-21) to assess shifts in students’ perceptions of interprofessional socialization and the value of collaborative health-care practice. In their pre-and postseminar scores, 71 participants reported they more strongly agreed with all items on the ISVS-21 after completing the seminar. The results from this study suggest the IPC Seminar is an effective educational model for advancing the value of interprofessional socialization and collaborative practice in hospice and palliative health-care.
Previous literature demonstrates that current palliative care training is in need of improvement for medical students in global, European and Canadian contexts. The training of medical undergraduates is key to ensure that the ongoing and increasing need for enhanced access to palliative care across all settings and communities is met. We describe building a comprehensive palliative and end-of-life care curriculum for medical undergraduates at our university. As with recent European and US studies, we found that the process of university curriculum renewal provided a critical opportunity to integrate palliative care content, but needed a local palliative care champion already in place as an energetic and tireless advocate. The development and integration of a substantive bilingual (English and French) palliative and end-of-life care curriculum over the 4-year medical undergraduate program at our university has occurred over the course of 14 years, and required multiple steps and initiatives. Subsequent to the development of the curriculum, there has been a 13-fold increase in students selecting our palliative care clinical rotations. Critical lessons learned speak to the importance of having a team vision, interprofessional collaboration with a focus on vision, plans and implementation, and flexibility to actively respond and further integrate new educational opportunities within the curriculum. Future directions for our palliative care curriculum include shifting to a competency-based training and evaluation paradigm. Our findings and lessons learned may help others who are working to develop a comprehensive undergraduate medical education curriculum.
Palliative care for children with life shortening conditions (LSCs) refers to "an active and total approach to care, from the point of diagnosis or recognition, throughout the child's life and death. It embraces physical, emotional, social, and spiritual elements, and focuses on enhancement of quality of life for the child and support for the family" (Chambers, 2018, p. 9). The number of children with LSCs is growing with the latest evidence estimating that worldwide there are over 21 million children with conditions that would benefit from palliative care input and more than eight million children with a requirement for specialised palliative care (Connor et al., 2017). In addition to an increase in numbers, the complexity of care required by these children continues to progress and is often required over prolonged periods.
Qui ne souhaite pas être ou n’est pas, réfléchi dans ses pratiques, pondéré, sage, lucide ? Un praticien réflexif est sans aucun doute réfléchi, mais il est plus que cela, il est en plus désireux et capable de se prendre pour objet de sa réflexion dans la visée d’améliorer ses pratiques. Cette situation engage ces acteurs à se documenter, s’informer, chercher, inventer, tester, lire, écouter… La connaissance se construit, se re-construit et trouve du sens au travers des partages expérientiels, des ressources documentaires, des mises en œuvre et des échanges.
Introduction : Constitué en 2010, le Réseau national de documentation en soins palliatifs et fin de vie, Respal’dOc, a souhaité établir un état des lieux national de l’existant des fonds et des pratiques documentaires en soins palliatifs et fin de vie, afin de poursuivre sur des bases concrètes les missions qu’il s’est données.
Méthode : À cette fin, un questionnaire d’enquête anonyme a été envoyé à l’ensemble des 541 équipes spécialisées renseignées dans le répertoire de la SFAP, Société française d’accompagnement et de soins palliatifs, en janvier 2018.
Résultats et discussion : Cent cinquante-cinq formulaires, tous exploitables (soit un taux de réponse de 29 %) ont été retournés. Il ressort principalement de l’analyse qu’il existe un réel intérêt pour l’activité documentaire mais un manque de moyens à y consacrer, notamment en termes de temps. Par ailleurs, si des fonds documentaires existent, la plupart des équipes se heurtent à d’importantes difficultés dans leur valorisation, leur diffusion ou leur accès. On constate également une méconnaissance plus ou moins partagée des pratiques documentaires. Cet état des lieux permet d’identifier les principaux manques, et corrélativement les axes prioritaires pour le développement de nos actions.
Conclusion : La documentation n’est que peu voire pas visible au sein des équipes interdisciplinaires de soins palliatifs. L’analyse des facteurs et des conséquences de ce manque de visibilité engage à faire valoir la place des activités documentaires du côté de la diffusion de la culture palliative, d’une part, et, d’autre part, à les identifier comme un des leviers de la formation des professionnels.
Background: There is insufficient high-quality evidence to suggest that palliative care education can impact care home settings.
Aims: To identify, appraise and synthesise all available evidence on the barriers and facilitators to providing palliative care education in residential and nursing care homes and to generate recommendations to increase the effectiveness of future palliative care education programmes in care homes.
Methods: A rapid review searching CINAHL, Medline and ProQuest. One author screened full-text articles for inclusion. Any uncertainties were discussed with a second author.
Findings: Twenty-two articles were included in the full review. Analysis of the included articles revealed the following overlapping themes: structural systems; cultural and personal issues; and knowledge translation issues with interaction.
Conclusion: Addressing the barriers and facilitators when designing palliative care education programmes for care homes will lead to more successful outcomes.
Background: Provision of palliative care is part of the standard of care for patients with serious, life-limiting medical illnesses. Patients in the palliative care setting have high rates of psychiatric co-morbidity. However, integration of mental health care into palliative care remains a significant gap. With appropriate training, consultation-liaison (CL) psychiatrists are well-positioned to improve integration of mental health into palliative care.
Purpose: To understand current palliative care training practices for CL psychiatry fellows in the United States.
Method: We invited all U.S. CL psychiatry fellowship program directors to participate in a 17-item online structured survey aimed at understanding palliative care training in their fellowship programs.
Results: 37/61 (61%) of CL psychiatry fellowship program directors responded to the survey. 86% of programs provide some palliative care didactics, but the topics covered vary widely. Programs are closely split between offering required, elective, or no clinical palliative care experiences. Only about half (45%) of programs identify formal opportunities for interaction between palliative care and CL psychiatry fellows. Program directors identified topics such as goals of care discussions, systems issues in end-of-life care, and pain management as important for fellows to learn. Barriers to teaching these topics included time, lack of teaching faculty, and disciplinary siloes.
Conclusions: Although CL psychiatry fellowship program directors identify a number of key teaching topics in palliative care for CL psychiatry fellows, there are wide discrepancies in the depth and content of existing palliative care didactic and clinical experiences in CL psychiatry fellowships.
As the population ages, the number of careers that intersect with aging is expected to grow. However, many young people lack an interest in working with aging populations. As previous work has shown, though, students' interest in aging careers may be stimulated by coursework and experiential activities related to aging. Despite being a normative developmental process, anxiety about death and dying may be particular barriers to students developing interest in aging, and these topics may be particularly difficult subjects to teach in the college classroom. Here, strategies and activities for teaching the end of life are offered.
INTRODUCTION: Corrections agencies are exploring ways to securely and cost-effectively increase access to high-quality, evidence-based educational programs for personnel. Technology-based instructional tools hold strong potential for continuing education. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement's Framework for Going to Full Scale was employed to guide a systematic approach.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this article is to outline and describe the design and development of a media-rich interactive computer-based learning product, Enhancing Care for Aged and Dying in Prison, which addresses geriatric and end-of-life care issues in corrections.
METHOD: Through an iterative process, the research team developed the computer-based educational program that included program and module-specific objectives in alignment with goals and priorities of the end users, detailed evidence-based content that was engaging and visually appealing, and assessments aimed at testing the user's knowledge.
RESULTS: The Enhancing Care for Aged and Dying in Prison contains six modules, created under the careful guidance of the research team and the two advisory boards. Contents, including images and testimonials, were selected purposefully and strategically. Module objectives were developed in alignment with the goals and priorities of each module, and assessments tested user knowledge level pre/post module exposure. Completion of the training product advances the research and development necessary to further the goal of full-scale dissemination of the computer-based education.
DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS: The goal of this program is to enhance care and improve quality of life for aged and dying inmates. Evidence-based training products are critical in preparing not only forensic nurses who work in corrections but also the broader group of correctional personnel in how to better meet the care needs of incarcerated persons.
Effective team communication is necessary for the provision of high-quality health care. Yet, recent graduates from diverse health-care disciplines report inadequate training in communication skills and end-of-life care. This study explored the impact of a withdrawal of life-sustaining measures interprofessional simulation on team communication skills of students representing medicine, nursing, and social work. The 3-phase simulation required teams to communicate with the patient, family, and one another in the care of a seriously ill patient at the end of life. Team communication in the filmed simulations was analyzed via the Gap-Kalamazoo Communication Checklist. Results revealed fair to good communication across the 9 communication domains. Overall team communication was strongest in “shares information” and lowest in “understands the patient’s and family’s perspective” domains. Field notes revealed 5 primary themes—Team Dynamics, Awkwardness, Empathy is Everything, Build a Relationship, and Communicating Knowledge When You Have It—in the course of the data analysis. Logistical challenges encountered in simulation development and implementation are presented, along with proposed solutions that were effective for this study. This simulation provided an opportunity for interprofessional health-care provider students to learn team communication skills within an end-of-life care context.