BACKGROUND: Expert communication skills are essential for the delivery of effective palliative care across the domains of care. However, few health care providers receive formal communication training. To promote communication education for interdisciplinary palliative care teams, a train-the-trainer course for interdisciplinary hospital-based palliative care teams was developed to prepare them to teach other health care professionals communication skills. Course Design: The curriculum was organized by the eight domains of the National Consensus Project Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care and provided communication skills training for California-based teams. The two-day train-the-trainer course included skill-building exercises and interactive discussions to assist participants in integrating communication skills building into their clinical settings. Using a goal-directed method of teaching, faculty assisted teams in developing three institutional goals for providing palliative care communication training to other health care professionals. Evaluation of the course included immediate postcourse evaluation and follow-up evaluation at six and nine months.
RESULTS: The first statewide interdisciplinary communication training took place in January 2018 with 26 palliative care teams consisting of primarily nurses, followed by social workers, chaplains, and physicians. The 46 course participants' postcourse evaluations demonstrated high satisfaction with the course. On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = lowest), the course met participants' expectations and objectives (4.8). The teams' precourse goals focused on (1) staff education, training, and mentorship, and (2) institution-wide system changes.
CONCLUSION: Palliative care interdisciplinary teams can incorporate communication skills into their practice and provide communication skills training to their institutions.
CONTEXT: Cancer-related pain is associated with significant suffering and is one of the most challenging symptoms to manage. Studies indicate that front-line clinicians often lack the knowledge on best practices in cancer pain management.
OBJECTIVES: The current project, a quality improvement (QI) initiative, evaluated the outcome of an online educational intervention for nurses on complex cancer pain management.
METHODS: An online 7-module educational intervention, Advanced Pain Assessment and Management, was offered from 2012 to 2017. Pre-post course evaluations included self-reported knowledge and confidence across cancer pain management domains. In-course competency assessments included knowledge examination, online discussion forum participation, opioid dosage calculation assignment, and small-group-based case study. A mixed-model statistical analysis was used to assess pre-post course change in pain management confidence level.
RESULTS: In all, 306 nurses from 89 hospitals in Ontario, Canada, were enrolled in the course; 81.4% returned the precourse survey and 71.9% successfully completed the course. The average confidence level on pain management was low at baseline (57.5%) but improved significantly post-course. In-course competency assessments ranged from 81% to 89%. Mixed-model results showed post-course improvements in confidence levels, independent of sociodemographic background, clinical role, and professional educational level. Nurses with longer years of practice and more cancer cases reported greater confidence.
CONCLUSION: A facilitator-led online educational intervention focusing on complex cancer pain management can significantly improve nurses' knowledge, confidence, and skills. Low baseline knowledge among nurses highlights the pressing need for health-care organizations to implement cancer pain management training as an integral part of health-care QI initiative.
Despite the frequency, complexity, and intensity of communication that occurs between nurses, patients, and families, palliative care nurses often struggle with end-of-life communication. The primary goal of this quality improvement project was to increase nurse confidence and satisfaction engaging in end-of-life communication following the implementation of the COMFORT model; the secondary goal was to improve patient-family satisfaction with care provided in the palliative care unit. Fourteen palliative care nurses attended a 4-hour course to learn the tenets of the COMFORT model and practice through role-play exercises. A repeated-measures design was used to measure nurse confidence and satisfaction precourse, postcourse, and 3 months postcourse. A between-subjects pre-post design was used to compare family satisfaction survey scores in the 3-month period before versus the 3 months after implementation. Analysis revealed a statistically significant increase in all measures of nurse confidence and satisfaction from precourse to postcourse and from precourse to 3 months postcourse. There was no statistical difference between the family satisfaction survey scores before versus after training, although survey results were generally high at baseline and most respondents rated palliative services with the best possible response. This project demonstrates that COMFORT model training increased confidence and satisfaction of palliative care nurses engaged in end-of-life communication and demonstrates potential for use in other clinical areas that do not specialize in end-of-life nursing (eg, critical care) but find themselves in need of the communications skills to address end-of-life care.
Nurses have unique clinical responsibilities and opportunities with patients that require strong communication skills. However, many nurses lack effective communication skills and often receive inadequate palliative care communication training and education. To promote communication education for palliative care nurses, the End-of-Life Nursing and Education Consortium created a Communication Curriculum for nurses and developed an in-person train-the-trainer course. Organized by the 8 domains of the National Consensus Project Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care, a 1-day course was provided in August 2018 to 46 nurses representing 38 institutions. Completion of precourse surveys demonstrated participants’ institutional resources for palliative care communication education and their greatest communication challenges. Immediate postcourse evaluations demonstrated that the course improved nurses’ knowledge and confidence in communication and their ability to educate others. Palliative care nurses can incorporate communication skills into their practice and provide communication skills training to their institution.
OBJECTIVE: A major barrier to the adoption of an approach that integrates spirituality into palliative care is the lack of preparation/education of healthcare professionals on the topic. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a continuing education activity for healthcare professionals addressing spirituality and spiritual care provision to patients and families within palliative care.
METHOD: We conducted an intervention study using a quantitative pre- and posttest design in a convenience sample of 52 healthcare professionals. Participants completed the Brazilian version of the Spiritual Care Competence Scale before and after attending a four-hour continuing education activity.
Result: Significant differences were observed between pre- and postintervention scores in the following dimensions: assessment and implementation of spiritual care, professionalization and improving the quality of spiritual care, personal support, and patient counseling (p < 0.001), and referral (p = 0.003).
Significance of results: The results of this study provide preliminary evidence of a positive effect of this educational intervention on the development of the competences needed by healthcare professionals to deliver a comprehensive approach centered on the patient/family, which includes attention to spirituality and spiritual care in the decision-making process.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) is a process where patients express their wishes regarding their future healthcare. Its importance has been increasingly recognised in the past decade. As increasing numbers of elderly people are living in care homes, the aim of this review was to identify the most effective ACP interventions to train/educate all levels of healthcare professionals working in care homes.
DESIGN: A systematic review. Two independent reviewers undertook screening, data extraction and quality assessment.
DATA SOURCES: Searched from inception to June 2018: Ovid Medline, Ovid Medline in process, Ovid Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EBSCO Cinahl and Ovid PsycINFO.
RESULTS: Six studies were included: three before and after studies, one cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT), one non-blinded RCT and one qualitative study. Five studies reported on ACP documentation, three on impact on ACP practice and three studies on healthcare-related outcomes. All quantitative studies reported an improvement in outcomes. In the three studies reporting on health-related outcomes, one showed significant reductions in hospitalisation rate, days and healthcare costs; one reported significant reductions in hospital deaths; and the third showed reductions in hospital days and deaths. A meta-analysis could not be performed due to the heterogeneity of the outcome measures. The included qualitative study highlighted perceived challenges to implementing an educational programme in the care home setting.
CONCLUSION: There is limited evidence for the effectiveness of ACP training for care home workers. More well-designed studies are needed.
Nurses have voiced their lack of comfort during perinatal loss and communicating with families during this period. A mid-western organization provided bereavement education to its perinatal nurses, which included a didactic session, followed by two perinatal loss scenarios with standardized patients, and debriefing. Participant's knowledge (p = 0.000) and comfort (p = 0.000) levels significantly improved after the education session. Observations during the standardized patient scenarios, demonstrated that the majority of nurses used appropriate communication techniques with the bereaved mother that was reviewed throughout the education session. An education session that includes standardized patients acting out a perinatal loss may be an effective approach in promoting perinatal nurses comfort level in providing effective bereavement care and communication.
BACKGROUND:: A key aspect to the provision of palliative care is maintaining the dignity of the individual being cared for. Nurses working in the community setting need knowledge and skills to meet the needs of individuals who need palliative care and their families. Dignity Care Intervention Ireland is a community-based pilot project designed to implement a dignity care intervention for individuals with a life-limiting condition living in their own home. As part of the overall intervention, an education programme was developed for nurses working in the community.
METHOD:: Completion of a locally-designed questionnaire pre- and post-education.
RESULTS:: Nurses working in the community setting welcomed and highly valued the Dignity Care Intervention Ireland education programme. There was an overall improvement in the understanding of palliative care for both groups and improved understanding of the principles of palliative care, with self-evaluated competence to apply these principles in daily clinical practice.
CONCLUSION:: The importance of education about palliative care to support the delivery of dignity-preserving care cannot be underestimated. Ensuring nurses have the requisite knowledge will enhance future practice development and subsequently improve care for patients with life-limiting conditions and their families.
The aim of this study was to explore ways clinical supervisors facilitate the learning of the affective elements of professional competence in a clinical palliative care environment. The secondary aim was to advocate for and raise awareness of the importance of the affective domain in medical education. A clinical palliative care learning environment has been reported to be emotionally challenging. The affective and transformative learning processes taking place requires special support. However, little is known about how clinical supervisors facilitate this learning processes. A qualitative, explorative study was designed to capture supervisors' perceptions of their supervision using semi-structured interviews. Six experienced clinical supervisors working within a palliative care context were recruited using convenience sampling. Data were analyzed using inductive content analysis. The affective elements were viewed as essential for learning, clinical supervision, and professional competency. Supervisors use a variety of different ways of facilitation. Four main themes were identified; building a relationship, creating space for learning, creating a pedagogical environment, and Mirroring.
OBJECTIVE: Implementation of an advance care planning (ACP) program for people with advanced chronic conditions is a complex process. The aims of this paper are to describe (1) the development of the ACP program in Catalonia, Spain, for patients with advanced chronic conditions and complex needs and (2) the preliminary results of the implementation of this program in health and social services.
METHOD: The ACP program was developed and implemented in a four-stage process as follows: (1) design and organization of the project; (2) selection of the professionals to carry out the project; (3) creation of four working groups to develop the conceptual model, guidelines, training program, and perform a qualitative evaluation; and (4) project implementation.Result: The following deliverables were completed: (1) conceptual framework document; (2) practical guidelines for the application of the ACP; (3) online training course (3,763 healthcare professionals completed the online course, with an overall satisfaction rating of 8.4 on a 10-point scale); and (4) additional training activities (conferences, short courses, and seminars) in between 2015 and 2017.Significance of results: This project was led by the Catalan Ministry of Health. The strengths of the project development include the contribution of a wide range of professionals from the entire region, approval by the Catalan Bioethics Committee and the Social Services Ethics Committee, and the ongoing validation by members of the community. A standardized online training course was offered to all primary care professionals and included as a quality indicator for continuing education for those professionals in the period 2016-2020. The main outcome of this project is the establishment of a pragmatic ACP throughout the region and training of the health and social care professionals involved in the care of advanced chronic patients.
BACKGROUND: Compassion fatigue (CF) is prevalent in healthcare professionals, particularly in those caring for chronic, acutely ill, and/or those patients who might be moving toward comfort care. Over time, CF can lead to burnout (BO) and secondary traumatic stress and an overall decrease in professional quality of life. In this pilot study, participants completed a resiliency program focused on education about CF and self-awareness of its individualized impact and were expected to develop ongoing self-care practices to prevent/address the untoward effects.
METHODS: Healthcare professionals ( N = 15) participated in a formalized educational program consisting of three 90-minute educational sessions held 2 weeks apart. Preassessment and postintervention data were collected electronically in survey format. A postprogram evaluation was also offered.
RESULTS: Upon completion of the program, participants noted an increase in compassion satisfaction (CS) and a small reduction in BO. Secondary traumatic stress remained unchanged. Feedback about the program was positive, and participants reported the impact on their clinical practice and life to be moderately high. At 6 months, over half of the participants continued to report positive impact on their personal/professional lives.
CONCLUSION: While the small sample size of this pilot study limits the generalizability of the findings, there were positive effects for CS and BO in participants over time, indicating possible benefits of providing self-care education to healthcare providers. Additional research with a larger sample size is needed to address how healthcare providers might further benefit from resiliency education and interventions to improve professional quality of life.
Background: In the UK, many people experiencing homelessness whose health is deteriorating remain in homeless hostels due to few suitable alternative places of care. Hostel staff struggle to support residents with deteriorating health and palliative care services are rarely involved. There is recognition of the need for multiagency working to support this group.
Objectives: To pilot and evaluate the impact of a two-day training course for hostel staff around supporting clients with palliative care needs, and increasing multiagency working.
Design: Mixed methods evaluation using pre-and-post training data collection.
Settings and Participants: Frontline staff from two London homeless hostels.
Methods: Staff from two hostels attended a two day training course. Self-perceived confidence in supporting residents with deteriorating health, knowledge of palliative care, openness to discussing deteriorating health and work related stress were assessed at baseline and immediately after training using a novel questionnaire. Qualitative data was collected via focus groups immediately after and three months post-training.
Results: Twenty four participants attended at least one day of training, 21 (87%) completed the course. Training was reported to be useful and relevant. Modest improvements in self-perceived work related stress, knowledge, confidence and openness were observed following training. At three months, qualitative data indicated the beginnings of a shift in how palliative care was conceptualised and an increase in knowledge and confidence around supporting residents. Anxiety regarding the role of the hostel in palliative care, the recovery focused ethos of homelessness services and fragmented systems and services presented challenges to establishing changes.
Conclusions: Training can be useful for improving knowledge, confidence, openness and work related stress. Recommendations for implementing changes in how people experiencing homelessness are supported include embedding training into routine practice, promoting multidisciplinary working, incorporating flexibility within the recovery focused approach of services and recognising the need for emotional support for staff.
Context: Symptom management is a priority area within palliative care core competencies for generalist providers. While several educational initiatives exist, a comprehensive evidence synthesis on the effectiveness of symptom management training on trainees’ learning and patient-reported outcomes is lacking.
Objectives: To determine the effectiveness of training in symptom management in palliative care providers in non-palliative specialities.
Methods: A systematic review following Best Evidence Medical Education (BEME) methods from searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, ERIC, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane database of systematic, Clinical Trials.gov and ISRCTN databases to September 2017. Prospective controlled studies testing the impact of symptom management educational interventions on physicians in training in non-palliative specialities were included. Data were summarised narratively, grouped by curriculum description, and effectiveness on trainees’ learning or patient-reported outcomes.
Results: Of 5062 records identified, 6 studies met the inclusion criteria: two randomised controlled trials and four quasi-experimental. Pain management, use of opioids and their side effects were most frequently covered. Clinical decision support tools, web-based teaching, palliative care rotation and mixed educational methods were used. Most studies used self-reported, original or modified evaluation instruments, though psychometric properties were seldom reported. Despite methodological considerations, all educational methods improved trainees' learning outcomes. However, the effects on trainees’ behaviour and patient-related outcomes were not evaluated.
Conclusion: Current educational training programmes in symptom management appear to improve trainees' comfort, preparedness, and knowledge in assessing and managing patients’ symptoms at the end of life. More rigorous research to evaluate the impact of this training on residents and organisational performance is now required.
Many people with implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are living at home and receiving nursing services through home health care agencies. Near the end of life, it is not unusual for patients to request comfort measures and care that promotes quality rather than quantity of life. The purpose of this pilot study was twofold: (1) to educate home health care nurses on care of patients with ICDs nearing the end of life and (2) to measure changes in nurse knowledge pre to post educational session. None of the registered nurses in this study reported ever caring for a patient who had died with an ICD in place. Subsequently, their knowledge in end-of-life care surrounding this patient population significantly improved after the educational session (P < .006). Knowing how to care for such patients as they are dying is imperative for nurses, especially because many ICD recipients have insufficient knowledge themselves and can benefit from education provided by nurses.
Many, especially newer, nurses lack the experience for nuanced skillful communication at end of life. This study incorporated the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Core Curriculum Communication module into a nurse residency program and tested for change in attitudes toward end-of-life (EOL) care. Researchers found significant differences in attitudes toward care of the dying before and after the ELNEC training, and between nurses with greater than and less than 5 years experience. Findings support that ELNEC education can significantly impact nurse attitudes about EOL care.
BACKGROUND: The persistent global unmet need for palliative care continues to be felt acutely in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the volume is growing and access to palliative services remains underdeveloped. Recognizing the increasing urgency of bolstering palliative care infrastructure, several countries, such as Botswana, have established national policies and strategies to enhance care delivery. Given that education and training are essential components in pursuing this goal, we present a model for a training workshop that was successful in increasing the palliative care knowledge base and skill set in a group of nurses.
METHODS: A 2-day palliative care workshop was conducted for 15 nurses in Gaborone, Botswana in October 2014. Ten nurses completed pre- and post-workshop tests consisting of 21 questions spanning palliative care topics and delivery skills.
RESULTS: The survey category with the highest pre-test score of 70% was principles of palliative care. Ninety percent of participants demonstrated statistically significant improvement in post-test scores in comparison to pre-test results. The greatest increase in scores were observed in the categories of communication, end-of-life care and syringe driver use for administration of analgesic medications. The lowest post-test score category was spirituality, though it consisted of one survey question.
CONCLUSIONS: Here we provide quantitative data that supports the success of the training workshop model presented. Improvement in palliative care knowledge and treatment skills, as evidenced by the increased scores from pre- to post-test results, suggests the efficacy of this 2-day training program in advancing palliative care education of nurses. Given the unmet need for healthcare workers trained in palliative care, this model could serve as a valuable tool for expanding and strengthening the delivery of care in settings where patients have limited access to palliative care services.
BACKGROUND: A need for improved education and training for hospital staff caring for patients in the last year of life was identified at an urban UK hospital. Sequential Simulation (SqS Simulation™) is a type of simulation that recreates a patient's journey, considering the longitudinal element of care and how this might impact on the patient's experiences, wishes and needs.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate a new end of life care training intervention for multi-professional hospital staff, and its effect on their confidence in managing patients at the end of their life.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Based on the results of a formal Training Needs Analysis, four SqS Simulation™ specialty-based courses were designed for general medical and surgical multidisciplinary teams in an acute UK hospital.
METHODS: Over three months, seven SqS Simulation™ sessions were attended by fifty-seven multidisciplinary healthcare professionals. A quasi-experimental mixed-methods study was conducted using open and closed-ended questionnaires, pre and post-intervention. Changes in course attendees' confidence levels were analysed and qualitative data from free-text answers informed potential reasons for any differences identified.
RESULTS: Confidence improved for all professional cohorts (p < 0.001). The differences were found to be highly significant for ‘doctors’ (p < 0.001), significant for ‘therapists’ (p = 0.02) and not significant for the ‘nurses’ cohort (p = 0.238). This was explored further using a qualitative explanatory framework. Categories included: Communicating with Families; Teamwork; Goal Planning; Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation; Course Usefulness; Prior Training; and Clinical Experience.
CONCLUSION: This study has shown an overall improvement in confidence across disciplines after attending a SqS Simulation™ course. The differences in quantitative results between disciplines were explored through the qualitative data and revealed a difference in what the professionals gained from it. Further studies are required to assess its effectiveness in maintaining confidence of end of life care in practice, as well as its benefit to patient outcomes.
Objectives: Emergency medicine (EM) physicians commonly care for patients with serious life-limiting illness. Hospice and palliative medicine (HPM) is a subspecialty pathway of EM. Although a subspecialty level of practice requires additional training, primary-level skills of HPM such as effective communication and symptom management are part of routine clinical care and expected of EM residents. However, unlike EM residency curricula in disciplines like trauma and ultrasound, there is no nationally defined HPM curriculum for EM resident training. An expert consensus group was convened with the aim of defining content areas and competencies for HPM primary-level practice in the ED setting. Our overall objective was to develop HPM milestones within a competency framework that is relevant to the practice of EM.
Methods: The American College of Emergency Physicians Palliative Medicine Section assembled a committee that included academic EM faculty, community EM physicians, EM residents, and nurses, all with interest and expertise in curricular design and palliative medicine.
Results: The committee peer reviewed and assessed HPM content for validity and importance to EM residency training. A topic list was developed with three domains: provider skill set, clinical recognition of HPM needs, and logistic understanding related to HPM in the ED. The group also developed milestones in HPM-EM to identify relevant knowledge, skills, and behaviors using the framework modeled after the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) EM milestones. This framework was chosen to make the product as user-friendly and familiar as possible to facilitate use by EM educators.
Conclusions: Educators in EM residency programs now have access to HPM content areas and milestones relevant to EM practice that can be used for curriculum development in EM residency programs. The HPM-EM skills/competencies presented herein are structured in a familiar milestone framework that is modeled after the widely accepted ACGME EM milestones.
BACKGROUND: Patients with life-limiting illnesses need health professionals who can communicate with each other, as well as with patients and family members. Nursing faculty teach these skills in a variety of formats and, increasingly, via simulation experiences.
METHOD: This pilot study aimed to compare a group of interprofessional health professions students' (N = 73) self-reported level of confidence in communication, explore behavior change and professional identity, and identify areas for future interprofessional education. Students participated in a simulated team meeting with a standardized family member of an older adult patient hospitalized with an acute aspiration pneumonia and a chronic, progressive illness.
RESULTS: Postworkshop, students rated themselves as significantly more confident in interprofessional and palliative care communication (p =< .001) than preworkshop, identified important areas of behavior change and professional identity, and provided faculty with ideas for future simulation workshops.
CONCLUSION: Additional research is needed regarding longitudinal curricular efforts and direct patient care outcomes.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care (PC) needs in patients with neurological diseases are becoming more recognized by neurologists and PC physicians.
OBJECTIVE: To qualify and quantify the PC education available in the United States adult neurology programs since the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) published updated mandates in 2009.
DESIGN: A 22-question survey was electronically distributed to each neurology residency program in the United States.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: All program directors (PDs) and assistant/associate program directors (APDs) of adult neurology programs.
RESULTS: This study had a 35% survey response rate (49 programs). Of the participating programs, 20% offer no PC education to residents. Communication, prognostication, and withdrawing life-prolonging therapies were the domains identified as the most important for resident education; these were also the domains PDs/APDs were most comfortable providing for their own patients, and the domains their residents are the best trained in currently. Addressing spiritual distress was the domain considered the least important, the domain PDs/APDs were least comfortable providing for their own patients, and the domains residents are currently the least well-trained in. Forty-two percent of programs were dissatisfied with the PC education available at their program. Time for teaching, availability of faculty, and faculty expertise were the most common barriers.
CONCLUSIONS: PC education varies greatly across the United States adult neurology residency programs despite ACGME requirements. As time and resources limit current training, utilization of interdisciplinary educational teams and nationally available PC educational material may improve implementation of PC education in these residency programs.