Objective: In Singapore, more elderly are living in nursing homes (NHs), with a resultant increase in deaths occurring in NHs. However, palliative care training is limited in Singapore’s core nursing curriculum, and many NHs rely on foreign-trained staff who may not have previous palliative care training. Our study aimed to evaluate whether a needs-based course can improve the palliative care knowledge and attitudes of NH nurses in Singapore.
Methods: Twenty-five nurses participated in the study. The intervention was an 8-week palliative care course developed based on needs assessment and led by a multidisciplinary faculty. A 50-item knowledge test was administered at baseline and 0 day and 3 and 6 months postcourse. Semistructured interviews were conducted at 3 months to assess for changes in attitudes and nursing practices.
Results: The mean knowledge score increased significantly from 31.4 (±4.4) precourse to 35.1 (±5.1) at 3 months. Knowledge scores in end-of-life care increased up to 6 months, and scores for pain and symptom management increased significantly at 3 months. Participants reported a positive change with improved communication skills and increased compassion. There was a lack of opportunities to apply some new knowledge and skills due to regulations and perceived residents’ preferences to engage more local senior staff.
Conclusion: The multidisciplinary needs-based palliative care course using various teaching modalities with follow-up knowledge tests helped to increase knowledge and improve communication skills and attitudes of NH nurses towards palliative care. The increase in knowledge and positive change in attitudes was noted to be sustained for at least 3 months postcourse.
Retention of staff presents major challenges within children's palliative care; this has substantial implications for children, families and the nursing workforce. To address this, a programme was undertaken that provided pathways of professional development for senior nurses working in this field. This study reports the views of nurses completing this programme, the overall project manager (PM) and the day-to-day programme lead (PL) as well as factors that influence nurse retention within children's palliative care nursing. The study drew on an Appreciative Inquiry approach that comprised of interviews with the PM and PL as well as focus groups and questionnaires with senior nurses from the children's palliative care sector, who participated in the training programme. Thematic analysis of data from interviews and focus groups revealed factors influencing nurse retention: speciality, positivity and making a difference, support, provision of adequate resources, tailored education/professional development and resilience. These themes were supported by the questionnaire findings. The programme was perceived as having a positive influence on nurse retention within the children's palliative care workforce. In addition, it was felt to be very beneficial in terms of shared learning and development. Participants highlighted the need for similar opportunities in the future.
BACKGROUND: There is widespread agreement about the importance of communication skills training (CST) for healthcare professionals caring for cancer patients. Communication can be effectively learned and improved through specific CST. Existing CSTs have some limitations with regard to transferring the learning to the workplace. The aim of the study is developing, piloting, and preliminarily assessing a CST programme for hospital physicians caring for advanced cancer patients to improve communication competences.
METHODS: This is a Phase 0-I study that follows the Medical Research Council framework; this paper describes the following sections: a literature review on CST, the development of the Teach to Talk training programme (TtT), the development of a procedure for assessing the quality of the implementation process and assessing the feasibility of the implementation process, and the pilot programme. The study was performed at a 900-bed public hospital. The programme was implemented by the Specialized Palliative Care Service. The programme was proposed to 19 physicians from 2 departments.
RESULTS: The different components of the training course were identified, and a set of quality indicators was developed. The TtT programme was implemented; all the physicians attended the lesson, videos, and role-playing sessions. Only 25% of the physicians participated in the bedside training. It was more challenging to involve Haematology physicians in the programme.
CONCLUSIONS: The programme was completed as established for one of the two departments in which it was piloted. Thus, in spite of the good feedback from the trainees, a re-piloting of a different training program will be developed, considering in particular the bed side component. The program should be tailored on specific communication attitude and believes, probably different between different specialties.
BACKGROUND: Forty-five percent of hospice patients currently have a primary or secondary diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related disorders. However, few programs have focused specifically on assisting hospices in providing evidence-based symptom management to persons living with dementia (PLWD).
OBJECTIVE: To adapt and pilot the training component of Aliviado Dementia Care, a dementia symptom management quality improvement program originally developed for home healthcare, for use by social workers as part of the hospice interdisciplinary team.
DESIGN: A prospective pre-post design was utilized, measuring knowledge, confidence, and attitudes at baseline, and immediately and 1-month post-training. Analysis was performed using paired t-tests and repeated measures ANOVA.
SUBJECTS: Hospice social workers currently practicing in the United States with at least 1 year of experience.
MEASUREMENTS: The Dementia Symptom Knowledge Assessment and a post-training continuing education evaluation form.
RESULTS: Forty-six subjects were enrolled, of whom 26 completed the first post-test and 23 both post-tests. There was a poor baseline level of knowledge and confidence in caring for PLWD. Significant improvements occurred following training, particularly in implementing non-pharmacologic interventions for behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) (16.64% increase, p < .0001) and confidence in managing behavioral symptoms (16.86%, p = .01) and depression (25.18%, p < .0001). Changes were maintained over time. All respondents were either very satisfied or satisfied with the quality and content of the program.
CONCLUSIONS: The training modules of Aliviado Dementia Care were successfully tailored for use by hospice social workers, showing significant improvement in knowledge and confidence in caring for behavioral symptoms in PLWD. Future work will examine whether the larger program, including this training, can subsequently improve patient outcomes in hospice.
Nursing staff play a key role in enhancing a patient's quality of life during end of life; however, they perceive lack of knowledge to be the largest barrier in providing quality end-of-life (EOL) care. Literature suggests that implementation of palliative and EOL care education can improve nursing EOL care practices. In order to address the gap in nursing knowledge and comfort, a quasi-experimental study was conducted; this study included the implementation of a multimodal EOL care educational series on an inpatient pediatric hematology oncology floor over 6 months. Prior to implementation, nursing staff completed a survey to measure perceived knowledge and comfort level regarding EOL care. The series included didactic sessions, in-services, case studies, practice exercises, and interactive discussions led by an interprofessional team of nurses, child-life specialists, and social workers. Educational topics included EOL symptom management, child-life services, supportive care resources, COMFORT communication, and an End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium course. Following the educational series, the survey was repeated. Results of the survey demonstrated an increase in nursing knowledge and comfort levels. Significant improvements were observed across several items including medication management of dyspnea ( 21,83 =5.1, P = .023), comfort with implementing interventions ( 21,93 = 3.9, P = .049), and knowledge of hospital resources ( 21,93 = 6.1, P = .014). These results suggest that while EOL education strategies can vary, a combination of learner engagement tactics can increase knowledge and comfort regarding EOL concepts and potentially positively impact nursing practice.
Self-efficacy and confidence levels among newly graduated nurses who participated in an end-of-life simulation were compared with nurses who had been practicing for no more than a year but had not participated in an end-of-life simulation. The study included a pretest-and-posttest evaluation of an end-of-life simulation intervention during a new graduate residency program among newly graduated nurses to improve self-efficacy and confidence with end-of-life care. Nurses who had been in practice for no more than a year but had not been exposed to an end-of-life simulation intervention were also surveyed. The Palliative Care Evaluation Tool Kit was adapted and used for this project. The 2 groups of nurses were compared in terms of self-efficacy and confidence levels regarding end-of-life care. An end-of-life simulation intervention was successful in improving self-efficacy and confidence levels among newly graduated nurses, in regard to views about end of life and death and dying compared with the nurses who did not receive the end-of-life simulation intervention. The results of this study have implications for both schools of nursing and hospital training programs.
As people live longer with chronic disease and serious illness in the U.S., palliative care teams are called upon to support patients and their families. Social workers are an integral part of the palliative care interprofessional team, and yet there are disproportionately few training programs for social workers who wish to specialize in this area. The curriculum of a post-graduate palliative care training program for social workers should be based on the current standards for palliative care and social work, as described by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Council for Social Work Education (CSWE) and the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC). Trainees should develop skills to care for patients who have chronic or life-limiting illness, patients who are nearing their end of life, patients who are in the active dying phase and their families around end of life planning, medical decision making, grief and bereavement. A post-graduate social work training program that aims to prepare social workers to work in the field of palliative care should consist of clinical rotations at multiple sites, robust didactic curriculum and clinical supervision. Interprofessional learning is necessary and training should include opportunities for scholarly work, quality improvement activities, leadership, and teaching. Post-graduate training programs in palliative care will prepare future social workers to be experts in a sub-specialty skill set to meet the needs of people living with chronic disease. These needs and opportunities call on the social work profession to take action to develop post-graduate training programs in palliative care.
BACKGROUND: Training in medical ethics aims to educate health care professionals in dealing with daily care ethical issues. To guarantee quality of life and spiritual and emotional support, palliative care professionals have to develop ethical and relational skills. We propose the implementation and evaluation of a specialized training programme in medical ethics dedicated to a hospital-based Palliative Care Unit.
METHODS: This study is a mixed-method before-after evaluation with data triangulation.
RESULTS: The results highlight that participants developed their ethical knowledge, and a deeper ethical awareness. They also felt more confident and motivated to widely apply ethical reflections and reasonings in their daily practice.
CONCLUSION: The participants appreciated the innovative structure of the training, especially regarding the integration of the theoretical-interactive and practical parts. However, they recommended increasing the number of concrete occasions for ethical supervision and practical application of what they learned during the programme. The training programme also has some potential practical implications: the development of advanced ethical skills within a hospital-based PC team may improve the quality of life of the patients and their families. In addition, health care professionals with advanced ethical competencies are able to educate patients and their families towards more active participation in the decision-making process.
Objectives: To develop a staff training intervention for agitation in people with severe dementia, reaching end-of-life, residing in nursing homes (NHs), test feasibility, acceptability, and whether a trial is warranted.
Design: Feasibility study with pre- and post-intervention data collection, qualitative interviews, and focus groups.
Setting: Three NHs in South East England with dementia units, diverse in terms of size, ownership status, and location.
Participants: Residents with a dementia diagnosis or scoring =2 on the Noticeable Problems Checklist, rated as “severe” on Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, family carers, and staff (healthcare assistants and nurses).
Intervention: Manualized training, delivered by nonclinical psychology graduates focusing on agitation in severe dementia, underpinned by a palliative care framework.
Measurements: Main outcomes were feasibility of recruitment, data collection, follow-up, and intervention acceptability. We collected resident, family carer, and staff demographics. Staff provided data on resident’s agitation, pain, quality of life, and service receipt. Staff reported their sense of competence in dementia care. Family carers reported on satisfaction with end-of-life care. In qualitative interviews, we explored staff and family carers’ views on the intervention.
Results: The target three NHs participated: 28 (49%) residents, 53 (74%) staff, and 11 (85%) family carers who were eligible to participate consented. Eight-four percent of staff attended =3 sessions, and we achieved 93% follow-up. We were able to complete quantitative interviews. Staff and family carers reported the intervention and delivery were acceptable and helpful.
Conclusions: The intervention was feasible and acceptable indicating a larger trial for effectiveness may be warranted.
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.
BACKGROUND: Nurses are the largest regulated group of healthcare professionals involved in palliative care. In 2004, a taskforce of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) launched the 'Guide for development of palliative nurse education in Europe' (hereinafter, the EAPC 2004 Guide). No systematic evaluation of its impact in the development of palliative care education was undertaken.
AIMS: To describe current undergraduate and postgraduate nursing education across Europe; to identify the roles that nurses with different palliative care educational levels have in palliative care; and to assess the uptake of the EAPC 2004 Guide in the development of palliative care nursing in Europe.
DESIGN: Descriptive research involving an online survey among nursing experts, and the consultation of national representatives.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: A total of 135 nurses (52% response rate) from 25 countries completed the online survey; representatives from 16 countries were consulted.
RESULTS: In 14 (56%) countries, palliative care was not identified as a mandatory subject within undergraduate nursing education. The EAPC 2004 Guide is widely known and was/is being used in many countries to promote palliative care nursing education. Large variations were found across and within country responses.
CONCLUSIONS: Palliative care nursing education varies largely in Europe. The wide awareness and use of the EAPC 2004 Guide show how policy measures can influence the development of palliative care education. Recommendations are built and focus on both fostering the use of this guide and implementing policy measures to ensure that palliative care nursing is recognised and certified as a specialty in all European countries.
Clinical nurses are in a crucial position to provide primary palliative care by advocating for patients and families at the end of life, collaborating with the health care team to optimize quality of life, and contributing to enhanced symptom management. Most clinical nurses, however, have not received the comprehensive palliative care education needed to provide high-quality palliative care. The End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium curriculum can bridge this gap by providing nurses with the knowledge needed to promote palliative care. Following completion of an End-of-Life Education Consortium train-the-trainer program, 6 nurses from a large, metropolitan academic medical center designed and implemented a series of 20-minute educational sessions informed by a hospital-wide needs assessment and based on the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium curriculum. The educational sessions, Palliative Care Conversations, provide clinical nurses with the core palliative care knowledge and skills needed to advocate for and provide patient-/family-centered care throughout the serious illness trajectory and at end of life. This article describes the process, design, and content of the palliative care educational sessions.
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for healthcare providers skilled in rapid, flexible decision-making, effective and anticipatory leadership, and in dealing with trauma and moral distress. Palliative care (PC) workers have been an essential part of the COVID-19 response in advising on goals of care, symptom management and difficult decision-making, and in supporting distressed healthcare workers, patients and families. We describe GPEC (Global Palliative Education Collaborative), a training partnership between Harvard, UCSF, and Tulane medical schools in the US; and two international PC programs in Uganda and India. GPEC offers US-based PC fellows participation in an international elective to learn about resource-limited PC provision, gain perspective on global challenges to caring for patients at the end of life, and cultivate resiliency. International PC colleagues have much to teach about practicing compassionate PC amidst resource constraints and humanitarian crisis. We also describe a novel educational project that our GPEC faculty and fellows are participating in - the Resilience Inspiration Storytelling Empathy (RISE) Project - and discuss positive outcomes of the project.
BACKGROUND: Compared to Whites, racial/ethnic minorities are less likely to enroll in hospice and if they enroll, more likely to experience poor quality care. Building cultural competence (CC) among hospice staff is a strategy that may reduce disparities.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the state of CC training across hospices.
DESIGN: National survey of hospices' practices to promote CC.
RESULTS: A total of 197 hospices participated; most were not-for-profit (80%) with an average daily census less than 100 (47%); 73% offered staff cultural competence training (CCT). There were no differences in characteristics of hospices who offered CCT and those that did not. Of hospices offering CCT, 61% held it annually. Most trainings were 1 hour (60%); content was delivered via web (58%) and/or lecture (58%). While over 90% of staff (i.e., nurses, social workers, chaplains) completed CCT, a smaller proportion of medical directors (64%), senior leaders (71%) and board members (26%) did so. Most common topics were: cross-cultural communication, death/illness beliefs, spirituality's role, and healthcare disparities. The majority focused on African-Americans (83%), Hispanics (76%), and Asians (62%)-the most common U.S. minority groups. Almost 30% reported no effectiveness assessment of CCT, while 51% reported a quiz at the end of training. Most hospices offered some CCT.
CONCLUSIONS: CCT has been shown to improve healthcare providers' knowledge and skills in caring for diverse patients and it is associated with increased patient satisfaction. Future research should evaluate effectiveness of CCT in improving the ability of hospices to deliver high quality end-of-life care to diverse groups of older adults.
Background: More medical residents and fellows outside of palliative care (PC) will need to be trained in primary PC (PPC) to meet an increasing patient need.
Objective: To systematically review surveys of program leadership in postgraduate medical training programs and their respective PPC curricula.
Methods: This review included all studies of program leadership surveyed about their PPC curricula in U.S. graduate medical education programs, published in English, and listed on MEDLINE, CINAHL, and EMBASE through January 2020.
Results: Data were extracted from eight studies that met the selection criteria out of 221 reviewed texts. PC domains of communication, symptom management, and end-of-life care were taught in all medical specialties most commonly through didactics and PC rotations. Program leadership supported expanding PPC curriculum, with lack of time being the most common barrier. There were differences by specialty in which trainees were exposed to PPC education, with most programs not using a formal curriculum.
Conclusions: Generally, there are positive attitudes about PPC education, but there remain significant numbers of trainees with no exposure, and heterogeneity in the content and delivery of PPC education across specialties. PPC Education in U.S. Residencies and Fellowships: A Systematic Review of Program Leadership Perspectives.
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.
Background: There is little concrete guidance on how to train current and future healthcare providers (HCPs) in the core competency of compassion. This study was undertaken using Straussian grounded theory to address the question: “What are healthcare providers’ perspectives on training current and future HCPs in compassion?”
Methods: Fifty-seven HCPs working in palliative care participated in this study, beginning with focus groups with frontline HCPs (n = 35), followed by one-on-one interviews with HCPs who were considered by their peers to be skilled in providing compassion (n = 15, three of whom also participated in the initial focus groups), and end of study focus groups with study participants (n = 5) and knowledge users (n = 10).
Results: Study participants largely agreed that compassionate behaviours can be taught, and these behaviours are distinct from the emotional response of compassion. They noted that while learners can develop greater compassion through training, their ability to do so varies depending on the innate qualities they possess prior to training. Participants identified three facets of an effective compassion training program: self-awareness, experiential learning and effective and affective communication skills. Participants also noted that healthcare faculties, facilities and organizations play an important role in creating compassionate practice settings and sustaining HCPs in their delivery of compassion.
Conclusions: Providing compassion has become a core expectation of healthcare and a hallmark of quality palliative care. This study provides guidance on the importance, core components and teaching methods of compassion training from the perspectives of those who aim to provide it—Healthcare Providers—serving as a foundation for future evidence based educational interventions.
BACKGROUND: Voluntary assisted dying was legalized in Victoria, Australia in June 2019, and was the first jurisdiction internationally to legislatively mandate training for doctors conducting eligibility assessments of patients. Mandatory training was designed as a safeguard to ensure compliance within the system, so that only eligible patients would gain access to voluntary assisted dying.
OBJECTIVE: This article outlines the development of training mandated for doctors prior to undertaking eligibility assessments for voluntary assisted dying. The training addressed required legal knowledge, including doctors' roles, duties and legal protections, and also provided instruction on relevant clinical skills.
DESIGN: Training design was based on 2 main principles: to comprehensively impart the legal duties imposed by the legislation; and to be readily accessible for busy doctors. The law was first mapped into a curriculum, and circulated to medical colleges, societies and professional organizations as well as international experts for feedback. The training was converted into an online e-learning format and tested at a focus group of doctors.
RESULTS: The training comprises 9 modules including an assessment module. While the predominant focus of the modules is on law, they also contain some clinical components and links to further resources. Modules also contain videos, case studies and interactive exercises. The assessment consists of 30 questions, selected randomly from a question bank, with a pass mark of 90%.
CONCLUSION: The Victorian legislatively-mandated voluntary assisted dying training provides standardized baseline knowledge to enhance the quality and consistency of decision-making by doctors. While further evaluation of this training is needed, it may provide a model for other jurisdictions considering making voluntary assisted dying lawful.