Nurses play a central role in delivering palliative care, given their influence on the quality of care provided (Montgomery, Sawin, & Hendricks-Ferguson, 2016). They are professionals of choice when it comes to assessing disease symptoms or psychological distress, ensuring symptoms are managed effectively, as well as accompanying patients and families through the decision-making process regarding both adult and pediatric care (Contro, Larson, Scofield, Sourkes, & Cohen, 2004). Optimal palliative care practices can prevent or alleviate the suffering of patients of all ages at the end of life, particularly if the care includes the assessment of symptoms and provides the patient and his or her family with psychological and social support (Qaseem et al., 2008). Although the majority of patients receiving palliative care are adults, more than 4,000 children in Canada have an incurable disease for which they will require quality palliative care (Widger, Cadell, Davies, Siden, & Steele, 2012). However, a number of studies carried out with nurses have revealed that they experience anxiety with regard to the pediatric palliative care (PPC) they deliver (Mullen, Reynolds, & Larson, 2015) and difficulties communicating with families of patients (Montgomery et al., 2017), as well as managing their emotions when they attend to a child who is at the end of life (Roberts & Boyle, 2005). Based on the first hypothesis suggested by Contro et al. (2004), such behaviour can be explained by a lack of knowledge regarding PPC.
BACKGROUND: Advanced practice registered nursing students need primary palliative care education to care for the growing number of patients with serious illness and their families and to fill the serious resource gaps in specialty palliative care.
PROBLEM: There has been a lack of primary palliative care education in most graduate nursing programs and little direction as to competencies and essential content.
APPROACH: In an effort to support faculty to teach palliative care content, the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) has created an online curriculum that meets the new American Association of Colleges of Nursing Graduate-Competencies and Recommendations for Educating Nursing Students in primary palliative care for master's degree and doctor of nursing practice students.
OUTCOMES: During the first 9 months of its release, more than 170 nursing programs have accessed the ELNEC Graduate curriculum, and there have been more than 200 student completions.
CONCLUSION: Primary palliative care education is essential for all advanced practice nursing students. The new ELNEC Graduate curriculum offers the opportunity to provide quality education remotely.
MAIN PROBLEM: Impact of training on end-of-life care (EOLC) and the deceased donation process in critical care physicians´ perceptions and attitudes was analyzed
METHOD: A survey on attitudes and perceptions of deceased donation as part of the EOLC process was delivered to 535 physicians working in critical care before and after completion of a on-line training program (2015-17)
RESULTS: After training, more participants agreed that nursing staff should be involved in the end-of-life decision-process (p<0.001) and that relatives´ should not be responsible for medical decisions (p<0.001). Post-course more participants considered "withdrawal/withholding" as similar actions (p<0.001); deemed appropriate the use of pre-emptive sedation in all patients undergoing life support treatment adequacy (LSTA) (p<0.001); and were favourable to approaching family about donation upon LSTA agreement, as well as admitting them in the intensive care unit (p<0.001) to allow the possibility of donation. Education increased the number of participants prone to initiate measures to preserve the organs for donation before the declaration of death in patients undergoing LSTA (p<0.001). Training increased number of positive terms selected by participants to describe donation after brain and circulatory death.
CONCLUSIONS: Training programs may be useful to improve physicians´ perception and attitude about including donation as part of the patient's EOLC.
Chronic complex illness/multimorbidity is a leading cause of death worldwide. Many people with chronic complex illnesses die in hospital, with the overall quality of end-of-life care requiring substantial improvement, necessitating an increase in the knowledge of the health professionals caring for them. End-of-Life-Essentials (EOLE) offers online education modules for health professionals working in acute hospitals, including one on chronic complex illness. A quantitative pre-post-evaluation analysis was undertaken on data from learners (n = 1489), who completed a questionnaire related to knowledge gained from module completion between December 2018 and November 2019. A qualitative post-evaluation analysis was also conducted using data on learner responses to a question posed between May and November 2019. Results showed a significant positive impact on learners' knowledge, skill, attitude, and confidence in providing end-of-life care to patients living with chronic complex illness. The majority (82.9%, n = 900) intended to change their practice after module completion. A total of n = 559 qualitative comments were analysed thematically, with three major themes emerging: Patient centred care and care planning, Discussion of prognosis, and Valued communication skills. This evaluation has demonstrated that healthcare professionals could benefit from this education to improve quality of care of the dying.
Providing quality care for those dying in hospital is challenging for health professionals who receive little training in this. "End of Life Essentials" (EOLE) was developed to address gaps in health professionals' knowledge, skills and confidence in end-of-life care via the provision of online learning modules and practice resources. This study aimed to determine whether respondents could describe clinical practice change as a result of module completion. Deidentified data were collected between October and November 2018 from learners registered for the online learning modules. Both quantitative and qualitative data were extracted and analysed. The survey design and conduct were reviewed, and ethical approval was obtained. Although the response rate was very low, results from n = 122 learners show improvements in knowledge, skills, awareness and confidence as a result of the undertaking of the learning modules. Two thirds self-reported practice changes (71%, n = 59) following the education, with "communication" cited most commonly (n = 19). The findings suggest that the EOLE education modules can help to improve end-of-life care by increasing health professionals' awareness of good practice as well as their knowledge, skills and confidence. Online learning has also been reinforced as an appropriate forum for end-of-life education. Following education, implementing what has been learned occurs more easily at a personal level rather than at a team and organisational level. Barriers to and enablers of clinical practice change in hospital are described, including the fact that the organisation may not be responsive to changes or have the relevant resources to support change.
PURPOSE: The integration of palliative care into usual oncology care is a best practice, but implementation can be challenging.
METHODS: We convened a virtual learning collaborative (VLC) of oncology practices with a focus on integrating palliative care. The entire program was virtual, with teams meeting via online Webinar and conference call and accessing content via an online portal. Because of the need to pause and retool after the first 5 months, the VLC evolved into 2 phases, with feedback after the first phase informing the second. We primarily evaluated the reaction of participants and project team members after the completion of the VLC using 2 quantitative surveys (after each phase) and semistructured interviews with participants.
RESULTS: A total of 24 oncology practices entered the VLC. Evaluation after each of 2 phases was conducted. For the first evaluation, 67% of respondents agreed a quality improvement coach was helpful to complete the program; 61% agreed a palliative care expert was helpful. The most common reasons for withdrawal involved organizational and VLC factors. Organizational factors included: time constraints, personnel changes (turnover), loss of the champion, and lack of team engagement. Twenty-two active participants and 8 former participants completed the second survey. Of those, 79% agreed the experience with the VLC was valuable, and 74% agreed the virtual delivery mode was useful. We identified 3 themes to drive future improvements related to structure, engagement, and content.
CONCLUSION: VLCs are a potential mechanism to disseminate information and facilitate learning in oncology. Further study of program characteristics that promote acceptance of VLCs are needed.
Aim: The study aimed to evaluate student and facilitator perceptions regarding the novel use of a virtual learning environment (VLE) in the development and implementation of ‘Ivy Street’.
Sample/methods: Healthcare professionals enrolled on the first palliative and end-of-life care masters level module and course facilitators were invited to participate in the study. Two online surveys were developed comprising five open-ended questions to gain both student (n=16) and facilitator (n=4) perceptions of Ivy Street. Data were analysed thematically.
Findings: The key theme to emerge was the ‘Positive Perceptions of Ivy Street’. A second sub theme ‘Critical Feedback of Ivy Street’ focused on some initial technical issues. Respondents perceived the use of Ivy Street to be enjoyable, enabling and promoting peer discussion, while also having a high impact on student engagement. Respondents commented how Ivy Street removed concerns regarding confidentiality when discussing patient cases through utilisation of standardised Ivy Street characters.
Conclusion: The novel use of a VLE through developing characters, a story and vignettes is considered to be an effective and engaging method of learning for healthcare professionals enrolled on a palliative and end-of-life care module.
Context: Responding to emotion cues is an essential skill for communicating with patients and families, but many health care trainees have difficulty applying this skill within the context of a complex conversation.
Objectives: We created an original online module to facilitate deliberate practice of a three-skill framework for responding to emotion cues during complex or nonlinear serious illness conversations.
Methods: Our original online module uses a gamebook format, which prompts trainees to engage in focused and repetitive practice of three well-defined skills for responding to emotion cues in a simulated family conference. We implemented the module as a part of a communication skills curriculum for interns rotating in the intensive care unit. After completing the module, all interns answered an open-ended survey question about their perceived skill acquisition. Results were analyzed by a qualitative method and coded into themes.
Results: About 71% of interns (n = 65 of 92) completed the online module and open-ended survey question. About 89% of participants responded that they would use a naming, understanding, respecting, supporting, or exploring statement in response to an emotion cue. Nearly two-thirds of participants articulated their rationale for using naming, understanding, respecting, supporting, or exploring statements (e.g., preparing patients to process complex medical information, eliciting information about patient perspective.)
Conclusion: Our online emotion cue module is a novel tool for deliberate practice of advanced skills for responding to emotion cues in serious illness conversations. In future studies, we will investigate whether our module's efficacy is enhanced by using it as a part of a flipped classroom curriculum with an in-person simulation session.
BACKGROUND: Developing recommendations for how we deliver healthcare is often left to leading experts in a field. Findings from the Integrated Palliative Care in cancer and chronic conditions (InSup-C) study, which aimed to identify best practice in integrated palliative care in cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart failure, led to recommendations developed through an expert consultation process. We also wanted to develop these recommendations further with participants who were largely clinicians and members of the public.
METHODS: Results from the InSup-C study were disseminated through a three-week massive open online course (MOOC) which ran in 2016, 2017 and 2019. The first course helped develop the final recommendations, which were ranked by MOOC participants in the subsequent courses. MOOC participants were predominantly clinicians, but also academics and members of the public. They rated how important each recommendation was on a 9 point scale (9 most important). Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the ratings. The results were compared to findings from the consultation.
RESULTS: Five hundred fifteen completed the last part of the course where the recommendations were ranked, of which 195 (38%) completed the ratings. The top recommendations related to: need to expand palliative care to non-malignant conditions; palliative care needs to include different dimensions of care including physical, psychological and spiritual; policies and regulations assessments should be made regularly; palliative care integration should be mandatory; and there should be greater availability of medicines. These differed compared to the top ranked recommendations by the consultation panel in relation to the importance of leadership and policy making. This may indicate that clinicians are more focused on daily care rather than the (inter) national agenda.
CONCLUSIONS: Whilst both sets of recommendations are important, our study shows that we need to include the views of clinicians and the public rather than rely upon leading expert opinion alone. To keep recommendations fresh we need both the input of clinicians, the public and experts. When disseminating findings, MOOCs offer a useful way to gain greater reach with clinicians and the public, and importantly could be a vehicle to validate recommendations made by leading expert panels.
Background: The population of older adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is increasing and nephrologists need education on the principles of geriatrics and palliative care to effectively care for this population.
Objectives: Our objective was to develop and deliver a curriculum to interprofessional clinicians caring for older adults with CKD. The aim of this curriculum would be to improve knowledge of the principles of geriatrics and palliative care.
Design: We have previously developed a curriculum on geriatrics and palliative care targeted toward primary care teams. In this project, we used an interdisciplinary steering committee to modify the curriculum for nephrology teams.
Setting: This curriculum was delivered in a live grand rounds setting and was recorded and made available via online platform for virtual learning.
Participants: The 6-session curriculum was delivered to 611 live and online learners between January 2018 and April 2019, with more than half of the participants (n = 317) completing more than 1 session. Participants came from a variety of disciplines including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and social work.
Results: Participants had a high rate of agreement with the statement that the curriculum met learning objectives, with live participants having stronger agreement. Participants reported that the activity would change their practice behavior by calling palliative care earlier, as well as improving their communication skills.
Conclusion: Interprofessional collaboration can result in improved learning around the management of patients with CKD or end-stage kidney disease.
BACKGROUND: Complex social and ethical debates about voluntary assisted dying (euthanasia), palliative care, and advance care planning are presently being worked through in many developed countries, and the policy implications of these discussions for palliative care are potentially very significant. However, community attitudes to death and dying are complex, multilayered, and contain many mixed messages.
METHODS: Participants posted comments in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on death and dying, entitled Dying2Learn. This provided an opportunity to explore societal and personal attitudes to wishes and beliefs around death and dying. For one activity in the MOOC, participants responded to a question asking them about "the best way to go".
RESULTS: Responses were subjected to thematic analysis, during which they were coded for conceptual categories. This analysis showed how acceptance of death as a natural and normal process, and as a shared event that affects a whole social network, may nonetheless be accompanied by deep reluctance to address the physical process of dying (i.e., "avoidant acceptance").
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings highlighted a desire for choice and control in relation to dying, which is a common element in discussions of both advance care planning and palliative care. This same focus may contribute to a perception that voluntary assisted dying/euthanasia is a necessary strategy for ensuring that people have control over their dying process. We discuss the paradox of individuals wanting to have control whilst preferring not to know that they are dying.
Background: Palliative care (PC) is a limited resource in health care systems. Many providers develop a PC interest later in their careers when it is difficult to relocate and compete for a limited number of training positions. In communities without an academic tertiary medical center, interprofessional PC community specialists are poised to deliver high-quality accessible PC to patients/families with needs beyond what can be addressed by primary care providers.
Objective: An interprofessional 36-credit Master of Science in Palliative Care (MSPC) provides evidence-based education to nurses, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, social workers, spiritual care providers, psychologists, counselors, and other allied health professionals.
Design: The predominantly online curriculum, designed and taught by an interprofessional faculty, focuses on interdisciplinary teamwork, communication skills, and practical application of biomedical and psycho-sociocultural-spiritual-ethics content. The pedagogy is narrative based, emulating in-person clinical experiences, with patient cases progressing throughout the curriculum. We have enrolled four student cohorts.
Measurements: Student self-assessments pre-mid-post program.
Results: Students highly rate curriculum with demonstrated application of knowledge in case integration assignments, simulations with standardized patients, and Capstone Projects. Students' self-assessed skills on a 39-item scale increased on average to the highest level of 5 (able to perform independently and teach others).
Conclusions: The inaugural student cohort reports high levels of engagement and satisfaction, including mastery and synthesis of didactic and experiential content through case integration projects. Students who worked in PC/hospice settings have advanced in their professions; others have transitioned to PC work. The MSPC has capacity to meet projected PC workforce gaps.
PURPOSE: This study is aimed to investigate the effect of web-based pediatric palliative care education on nursing students' knowledge level and practices related to palliative care.
METHODS: The study was conducted with 265 nursing students including an intervention and a control group. The intervention group was given web-based pediatric palliative care education.
FINDINGS: A statistically significant difference was found between the total and subscale pretest and posttest scores of the students in the intervention and control groups regarding the palliative care knowledge level and self-reported palliative care practices.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: The web-based pediatric palliative care education is an effective training model for nursing students to improve palliative care knowledge level and practices of the students.
BACKGROUND: CaseSearch 'My Learning' e-learning modules were designed to remind clinicians and practitioners about the role of evidence in practice and demonstrate how to find relevant evidence to make a difference in clinical care. This study aims to describe the role of the modules and their uptake, and determine whether the modules influenced the learners' palliative care practice and whether the modules were easy to use.
METHOD: Two sets of questions were designed to capture data to evaluate the modules.
FINDINGS: The modules supported the awareness and use of evidence by health professionals. The modules contribute to ongoing professional development for practitioners and can improve palliative care practice.
CONCLUSION: It is possible to collect meaningful data that contributes to understanding who uses e-learning resources and how useful healthcare professionals find them.
Background: Recognising dying is a key clinical skill for doctors, yet there is little training.
Aim: To assess the effectiveness of an online training resource designed to enhance medical students’ ability to recognise dying.
Design: online multicentre double-blind randomised controlled trial (NCT03360812). The training resource for the intervention group was developed from a group of expert palliative care doctors’ weightings of various signs/symptoms to recognise dying. The control group received no training.
Setting/participants: Participants were senior UK medical students. They reviewed 92 patient summaries and provided a probability of death within 72 hours (0% certain survival – 100% certain death) pre, post, and 2 weeks after the training. Primary outcome: (1) Mean Absolute Difference (MAD) score between participants’ and the experts’ scores, immediately post intervention. Secondary outcomes: (2) weight attributed to each factor, (3) learning effect and (4) level of expertise (Cochran–Weiss–Shanteau (CWS)).
Results: Out of 168 participants, 135 completed the trial (80%); 66 received the intervention (49%). After using the training resource, the intervention group had better agreement with the experts in their survival estimates (dMAD = -3.43, 95% CI -0.11 to -0.34, p = <0.001) and weighting of clinical factors. There was no learning effect of the MAD scores at the 2-week time point (dMAD = 1.50, 95% CI -0.87 to 3.86, p = 0.21). At the 2-week time point, the intervention group was statistically more expert in their decision-making versus controls (intervention CWS = 146.04 (SD 140.21), control CWS = 110.75 (SD 104.05); p = 0.01).
Conclusion: The online training resource proved effective in altering the decision-making of medical students to agree more with expert decision-making.
Because of the growing population of patients with serious illness, the demand for specialty palliative care exceeds the resources available. Nurses must be prepared to provide primary palliative care to fill the gap in the availability of specialized palliative care providers. However, meeting the educational needs of a vast number of practicing nurses poses a significant challenge. Often, institutions are limited in the financial and staffing support that they can contribute for continuing nursing education, especially when the training requires staff to spend substantial time away from work. In order to address this issue, one large medical center conducted a study to examine the educational and clinical practice outcomes of offering an online version of the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium Core Curriculum to nearly 100 nurses. The participants were divided into 2 groups. Group 1 received online education only, whereas the other group received the online education plus a 3-hour face-to-face training session. Both groups reported statistically significant improvements in symptom management and communication skills, with no significant difference between the pedagogical approaches. Most importantly, the education resulted in a statistically significant impact on the nurses’ clinical practice. The results of this study demonstrate that online education can be used as an effective and efficient strategy to provide primary palliative care education to a large number of nurses.
The curricula of undergraduate nursing programs lack education in palliative and end-of-life care. If the topic is covered, it is generally within isolated lectures and rarely as a full course. With the growing demand for nursing competence in palliative care, curricula must adapt to also place emphasis on this important topic. The release in 2016 of the American Association of College of Nursing (AACN) Palliative Competencies and Recommendations for Educating Undergraduate Nursing Students (CARES) drew attention to the need for expanded undergraduate education on this topic. This paper describes the development and delivery of an undergraduate-level online nursing elective course in palliative and end-of-life care offered through a large public university. Innovative elements of the course include practicing difficult conversations using technology to enable active student engagement in an online environment, a serious game involving individual role play for treatment decision making, and special topic weeks allowing a deeper dive into seldom discussed populations such as the homeless, which the students described as playing an important role in contributing to their learning.
Background: Project ECHO™ (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a form of online interactive teaching, which has gained international traction. This project evaluates the effectiveness of an ECHO-delivered palliative care education program for the South Dublin region of Ireland. Our aim was to measure project success by quantifying gains in staff confidence.
Methods: The educational program consisted of 10 interactive sessions over a five-month period on palliative care topics ranging from pain management to advance care planning. Twenty nursing homes took part in the education program. Of these, a subgroup of six nursing homes were randomly selected for assessment. Likert scale-based questionnaires assessed staff confidence before and after each lecture and assessment was repeated at least six weeks postlecture. Five of the 10 sessions were assessed in this way. Other characteristics such as staff role and years of experience were also collected.
Results: Twenty nursing homes and 353 staff participated in the education sessions. Of the 6 nursing homes chosen for assessment, an average of 42 questionnaires were returned per session (n = 211), representing 83% of attendees at these 6 selected nursing homes. Seventy-seven percent of questionnaires were successfully followed up for six weeks. Average confidence increased by 27% pre- to postlecture (6.4 [SD = 1.4] to 8.1 [SD = 2.1], p < 0.005). Confidence gains persisted at six weeks; 8.1 of 10 (SD = 1.4), with no significant drop-off (-0.01/10, p = 0.95). All staff groups (nursing vs. non-nursing) exhibited equal confidence gains (nursing gain of 27%, non-nursing gain 22%, p = 0.16), and all confidence gains persisted at six weeks.
Conclusion: This interactive, novel, training program significantly improved nursing home staff confidence in managing palliative care situations, and this confidence was sustained at least six weeks after the sessions.
Background: Opportunities to provide competent and compassionate End-of Life (EOL) care to patients and families are limited for nursing students.
Method: A mixed methods approach was used to explore the students' attitudes towards caring for an EOL patient in two groups: an on-line-module only group and an on-line module plus simulation group.
Results: :Statistically significant effect of time was found across the two conditions (F [1, 69] = 7.83, p = .007), indicating that scores on the FATCOD-B significantly improved regardless of the condition over time. The qualitative responses indicated that the simulation experience was more impactful than the on-line module.
Conclusions: Innovative education modalities described in the study may assist in preparing the future workforce for the myriad of demands related to health, life, and death.
BACKGROUND: Whether online resources can facilitate spread of palliative care knowledge and skills in India is an urgent question given few providers and a large, ageing population.
OBJECTIVES: We surveyed needs and feasibility regarding e-learning.
METHODS: Indian, Australian and North American palliative care experts developed an electronic survey using Qualtrics, emailed to all registrants of the 2017 Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPC) conference and distributed during the conference.
RESULTS: Of 60 respondents (66% men, 60% doctors), most worked in hospitals and had oncology backgrounds, and 35% were from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Most (90.9%) received palliative care training in India or overseas with 41% trained in a Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences residential course (4-6 weeks). 17% completed the IAPC essential certificate and 22% had undertaken various distance learning courses. Interest in online training was substantial for most aspects of palliative care.
CONCLUSION: There was a high level of interest and reported feasibility in taking a case-based online course. This pilot survey provides support for online case-based education in India, particularly among physicians.