OBJECTIVES: Report the implementation, user evaluation and key outcome measures of an educational intervention-the iValidate educational programme-designed to improve engagement in shared decision-making by health professionals caring for patients with life-limiting illness (LLI).
DESIGN: Prospective, descriptive, cohort study.
PARTICIPANTS: Health professionals working in acute care settings caring for patients with an LLI.
MAIN OUTCOMES MEASURED: Participant evaluation of learning outcomes for communication skills and shared decision-making; demographic data of participants attending education workshops; and documentation of patients with LLI goals of management, including patient values and care decision based on area in acute care and seniority of doctor.
RESULTS: The programme was well accepted by participants. Participant evaluations demonstrated self-reported improved confidence in the areas of patient identification, information gathering to ascertain patient values and shared decision-making. There was strong agreement with the course-enhanced knowledge of core communication skills and advanced skills such as discussing mismatched agendas.
CONCLUSIONS: We described the educational pedagogy, implementation and key outcome measures of the iValidate education programme, an intervention designed to improve person-centred care for patients with an LLI. A targeted education programme could produce cultural and institutional change for vulnerable populations within a healthcare institution. A concurrent research programme suggests effectiveness within the current service and the potential for transferability.
Objectives: To describe the effect of a communication skills training programme on patient-centred goals of care documentation and clinical outcomes in critically ill patients with life-limiting illnesses (LLI) referred for intensive care management.
Methods: Prospective before-and-after cohort study in a tertiary teaching hospital in Australia. The population was 222 adult patients with LLI referred to the intensive care unit (ICU). The study was divided into two periods, before (1 May to 31 July 2015) and after (15 September to 15December 2015) the intervention. The intervention was a 2-day, small group, simulated-patient, communication skills course, and process of care for patients with LLI. The primary outcome was documentation of patient-centred goals of care discussion (PCD) within 48 hours of referral to the ICU. Secondary outcomes included clinical outcomes and 90-day mortality.
Results: The intervention was associated with increased documentation of a PCD from 50% to 69% (p=0.004) and 43% to 94% (p<0.0001) in patients deceased by day 90. A significant decrease in critical care as the choice of resuscitation goal (61% vs 42%, p=0.02) was observed. Although there was no decrease in admission to ICU, there was a significant decrease in medical emergency team call prevalence (87% vs 73%, p=0.009). The cancer and organ failure groups had a significant decrease in 90-day mortality (75% vs 44%, p=0.02; 42% vs 16%, p=0.01), and the frailty group had a significant decrease in 90-day readmissions (48% vs 19%, p=0.003).
Conclusions: The intervention was associated with increased PCD documentation and decrease in the choice of critical care as the resuscitation goal. Admissions to ICU did not decrease, and although limited by study design, condition-specific trajectory changes, clinical interventions and outcomes warrant further study.