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.
Thirty years ago, I lost my brother to suicide. A talented athlete, a gifted photographer, a deeply compassionate man. A lonely act as he tried to shake off the demons of psychosis. The end of a 3-year battle with schizophrenia.
A month ago, my closest friends lost their son. Another suicide. A wonderful, charismatic, clever young man with no known mental illness. Another lonely act, in the early hours of an ordinary weekday. A family left piecing together an incomplete jigsaw of “why” through an impenetrable cloud of loss. An endlessly branching map of possible futures extinguished. Different young men with different lives, joined only by the nature of their death, and the devastation in the lives left behind.
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