OBJECTIVES: In Singapore, the core curriculum for end-of-life (EOL) care used in nurse training courses is limited. Only 45% of nurses indicated familiarity with inpatient palliative care. Nurses who lack skills in palliative care may develop anxiety and negative attitudes towards caring for dying patients. We explored whether a two-day, multimodal EOL care workshop could reduce nurses' death anxiety and improve nurses' skills, knowledge, and attitude towards palliative care.
METHODS: Forty-five nurses participated in the workshop. At baseline before and at six weeks after, a 20-item knowledge-based questionnaire and the Death Attitude Profile-Revised (DAP-R) were administered. Six weeks post-workshop, in-depth interviews were conducted. We employed descriptive statistics, student paired samples t-test and inductive thematic analysis.
RESULTS: There was a significant improvement in nurses' knowledge score (p < 0.01) and reduction in their death anxiety score (p < 0.01). Fear of Death (p = 0.025) and Death Avoidance (p = 0.047) sub-scores decreased significantly. However, the remaining domains such as Neutral Acceptance, Approach Acceptance, and Escape Acceptance did not show any significant difference, although Escape Acceptance showed a trend towards a reduced score (p = 0.063). After the workshop, more nurses adopted the Neutral Acceptance stance (76.2%), and none of them fell into the Fear of Death subdomain. Most nurses interviewed reported a positive change in their knowledge, attitudes, and practice even after the workshop.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The multimodal palliative care workshop was useful in improving nurses' EOL knowledge and reducing their anxiety towards death. The positive change in nurses' attitudes and practices were noted to be sustained for at least six weeks after the intervention.
This study developed an end-of-life (EOL) care nursing knowledge scale for Japanese geriatric nurses (ELNKS-JG) to measure nurse knowledge of EOL care for older adults. It also was used to evaluate the quality of The End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium–Japan Geriatric. Participants were 1168 nurses employed in 32 institutions across Japan. The items of our measure were developed to cover 8 important topics: principles of EOL care for older adults; pain management; symptom management; ethics of care; cultural and spiritual considerations; communication; loss, grief, and bereavement; and caring for final days. The measure included 51 items with an overall Cronbach a coefficient of 0.87 and an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.81. Our measure, the ELNKS-JG, was confirmed to have good internal consistency, test-retest reliability, content validity, and known-groups validity. This scale’s items included knowledge about noncancerous diseases, physical changes due to aging, family care, and multidisciplinary collaboration. The ELNKS-JG comprehensively measures a nurse’s knowledge of EOL care for older adults in any EOL setting. Furthermore, this scale can evaluate educational programs aimed at improving care quality and encouraging related activities in facilities that provide EOL care.
Inadequate communication about serious illness care preferences affects patients, families, health care providers, and health care systems. Many patient and system barriers prevent comprehensive serious illness communication. The purpose of this evidence-based practice project was to provide a structure within a primary care clinic to facilitate conversations with seriously ill individuals about their care preferences that (a) was adaptable to clinic workflow, (b) improved providers’ perception of the care conversation experience, (c) improved documentation of care preferences, and (d) provided a comfortable and helpful experience. The Johns Hopkins Nursing Evidence-Based Practice model and Serious Illness Care Program were used to address provider and system barriers to conversations about care preferences. Program interventions included training providers and staff; identifying patients at risk for high symptom burden and mortality; integrating system interventions; and evaluating outcomes. Providers completed training, after which a 5-week pilot practice change was conducted. Provider perceptions of conversations after implementation were positive. During the pilot, 3 serious illness care conversations were initiated with additional patients prepared for future conversations using an information sheet and introduction to the conversation.
Background: Insufficient knowledge of palliative radiotherapy (PRT) among hospice and palliative medicine (HPM) physicians is thought to be a barrier to the provision of high-quality palliative care.
Objective: to assess the need for PRT education in HPM fellowship.
Design: A cross-sectional survey of HPM fellows was conducted in June 2018.
Setting/Subjects: The survey was distributed to accredited HPM fellowship programs in the United States for distribution to enrolled fellows; 114 fellows responded to the survey.
Results: Nearly all respondents agreed that the principles of PRT should be taught in HPM fellowship, yet 51% had received no PRT education and 35% had received only one or two hours. Only 25% of respondents rated their working knowledge of PRT as sufficient, 40% felt confident in identifying radiation oncology emergencies or managing radiotherapy side effects, and 52% felt confident in assessing which patients to refer for radiotherapy. More than 75% agreed that were they more knowledgeable about PRT, they would be more likely to consider referral to radiation oncology, to collaborate with radiation oncologists, and to advocate for a short course of treatment based on a patient's prognosis or goals or care. Fellows who received PRT education in fellowship had significantly greater knowledge of and more favorable attitudes toward the use of radiotherapy. This difference was the greatest among fellows who had received at least five hours of PRT education.
Conclusion: There is a need for PRT education in HPM fellowship. Efforts to address this need may lead to more appropriate utilization of PRT for patients with advanced cancer.
Since 2002, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has provided a unique training opportunity in palliative care at six VA medical centers. The VA Interprofessional Fellowship in Palliative Care has trained chaplains, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, psychologists, and social workers to provide clinical palliative care and to develop as leaders in the profession. This article describes the program's origin, mission, outcomes, and lessons learned.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether an educational palliative care intervention improved the quality of life for next of kin to older persons in nursing homes.
METHODS: Altogether, 90 next of kin in the intervention group and 105 next of kin in the control group were included. Data were collected using the WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire, answered before and 3 months after the intervention was completed. Descriptive and comparative analyses were performed.
RESULTS: This study found a statistically significant increase in the Physical health subscale in the intervention group but not in the control group. In contrast, the General health score decreased in the control group but not in the implementation group. Furthermore, we found an increase in the item able to perform activities of daily living in the intervention group and a decrease in the item energy and fatigue in the control group.
CONCLUSION: The results indicated small statistical changes regarding next of kins' QoL in favour of the intervention. Lessons learned from the study for future research are to include next of kin as participants at meetings about next of kin and to include more meetings about the theme next of kin. Both approaches would bring a stronger focus on the family-centred care aspect of the intervention into the education component, which this study indicates the need for.
TRIAL REGISTRY: Trial registration NCT02708498. Date of registration 26 February 2016.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this review was to analyze the effectiveness of teaching healthcare professionals in perinatal palliative care, methods of evaluating the teaching, and the teaching strategies used.
DESIGN: An integrative review.
METHODS: A systematic search was conducted for English language peer reviewed publications of any research design via SCOPUS, Medline/PubMed, EBSCOhost, Science Direct, ERIC, Web of Science, Wiley, Nursing Ovid, and ProQuest databases. Fourteen research papers published between 2002 and 2017 that met the selection criteria were included in the review.
FINDINGS: All 14 studies considered perinatal bereavement education to be effective. Eight studies reported statistical improvements in knowledge, security/comfort in providing end-of-life care, or increased perceptions of the emotional care needs of bereaved families, after attending an educational program. Questionnaires or interviews were used to evaluate the educational programs. Innovative teaching strategies, in particular, were evaluated positively (e.g., simulation, discussion, and arts-based methods).
CONCLUSION: Perinatal palliative care education is essential in pregradual education for midwives and neonatal nurses. Other research is vital for finding out the effectiveness of this education for pregraduate nursing students. Perinatal palliative care education programs need to be available in postgraduate education for professionals who encounter perinatal death and bereaved families in hospital and community care.
Background: Despite the importance patients place on religion and spirituality, many patients with advanced diseases report that their religious and spiritual needs are not met by their health care team, and many nonchaplain clinicians feel unprepared to address religious and spiritual issues in their practice.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of a one-day workshop on spiritual care for nonchaplain clinicians who provide care to elderly long-term care patients.
Methods: Clinician participants (N = 68) were given a pre-survey at the beginning of the workshop, a post-survey at the conclusion of the workshop, and a three-month follow-up survey to evaluate their comfort in engaging in spiritual issues before and after the workshop. An average ability score of 13 items in the survey was calculated as well as an average comfort score, which was an average of three items in the survey. Ability scores and comfort scores were analyzed using a pairwise t-test, comparing pre- versus post-workshop and post- versus three-month scores.
Results: Overall average scores for clinicians' self-reported perceived ability in engaging in issues around spirituality with patients and their families increased from before the workshop to the post-workshop and three months later. Participants' self-perceived comfort increased from before the workshop to immediately following the workshop.
Discussion: This study suggests that a spiritual care training program targeted toward geriatric clinicians has the potential to provide clinicians with the tools, skills, and support they need to approach basic spiritual care with their patients and family members.
BACKGROUND: The goals of palliative care are to relieve suffering and promote quality of life. Palliative care for older persons has been less prioritised than palliative care for younger people with cancer, which may lead to unnecessary suffering and decreased quality of life at the final stage of life.
AIM: To evaluate whether a palliative care intervention had any influence on the perceived quality of life of older persons (=65 years).
METHODS: This study was conducted as a complex intervention performed with an experimental crossover design. The intervention was implemented in 20 nursing homes, with a six-month intervention period in each nursing home. Twenty-three older persons (=65 years) in the intervention group and 29 in the control group were interviewed using the WHOQOL-BREF and WHOQOL-OLD questionnaires at both baseline and follow-up. The collected data were analysed using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test to compare paired data between baseline and follow-up.
RESULTS: In the intervention group, no statistically significant increases in quality of life were found. This result contrasted with the control group, which revealed statistically significant declines in quality of life at both the dimension and item levels. Accordingly, this study showed a trend of decreased health after nine months in both the intervention and control groups.
CONCLUSION: It is reasonable to believe that quality of life decreases with age as part of the natural course of the ageing process. However, it seems that the palliative care approach of the intervention prevented unnecessary quality of life decline by supporting sensory abilities, autonomy and social participation among older persons in nursing homes. From the ageing perspective, it may not be realistic to strive for an increased quality of life in older people living in nursing homes; maybe the goal should be to delay or prevent reduced quality of life. Based on this perspective, the intervention prevented decline in quality of life in nursing home residents.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: The high number of deaths shows the importance to identify palliative care needs in older persons at an early stage to prevent or delay deterioration of quality of life.
Dans nos sociétés occidentales le renforcement de la valeur d’autonomie a pris corps à travers différentes dispositions législatives, dont la possibilité de rédiger des directives anticipées. Leur mise en œuvre questionne les professionnels de santé.
Objectif: L'objectif principal de ce travail était de recueillir la perception pluridisciplinaire de soignants, puis, secondairement, de décrire leur pratique d’information et d’aide à la rédaction des directives anticipées.
Méthode: Cette enquête est à visée prospective. Un questionnaire a été remis un jour donné à la promotion 2016/2017 d’un diplôme inter-universitaire en soins palliatifs (DIUSP). Le questionnaire se composait de dix questions fermées, 12 questions ouvertes et un encadré libre.
Résultats: Le sentiment des professionnels de santé était hétérogène, 56,3 % se disaient à l’aise, 44 % d’avis partagé. Plusieurs moments sont cités pour présenter les directives anticipées. Sur la forme, 25 % des répondants pensaient qu’allier un modèle type avec des zones de texte libre permet d’engager un dialogue patient soignant. Les psychologues considéraient que les directives anticipées ne doivent servir qu’à transmettre des informations médicales. Si la plupart des répondants ont délivré des informations sur les directives anticipées, 81,3 % n’ont jamais accompagné de patient pour leur rédaction et 57,1 % n’ont pas eu à les utiliser. Leur valeur opposable est adéquate pour 56,3 % des répondants.
Conclusion: La perception des directives anticipées est favorable, mais leur appropriation par des professionnels de santé sensibilisés à la démarche palliative reste délicate. Des difficultés ressortent telles qu’aborder le sujet de la fin de vie, trouver le temps nécessaire pour échanger avec les personnes qui souhaitent en rédiger.
Education of health and social care professionals is essential in preparation to confidently and effectively support families affected by dementia to undertake advance care planning. This article describes a training needs analysis of Admiral Nurses, dementia specialists, in facilitating advance care planning for future care.
Methods: A questionnaire survey was completed by Admiral Nurses attending end-of-life care masterclasses in 2017 and 2018. Both quantitative (years registered as a nurse, years as an Admiral Nurse and subjective level of confidence in completing advance care plannings) and qualitative data (interventions perceived to increase confidence) were collected.
Findings: There were 75 completed responses (two incomplete returns). There was no correlation between levels of confidence and years registered as a nurse. However, there was a small positive correlation between confidence and number of years as an Admiral Nurse (r = 0.23; p < 0.05). Themes identified qualitatively to enhance practice were advanced communication skills, supervised practice, resources to frame conversations and a guide and template for advance care planning.
Conclusion: Although Admiral Nurses are specialists in dementia, several educational initiatives could be employed to better enable them to support advance care planning for families affected by dementia. This training needs analysis is contributed towards developing an educational intervention for Admiral Nurses to improve advance care planning support.
PURPOSE: The primary aim of this study was to determine the attitudes and beliefs of hematology and medical oncology (HMO) fellows regarding palliative care (PC) after they completed a 4-week mandatory PC rotation.
METHODS: The PC rotation included a 4-week standardized curriculum covering all PC domains. HMO fellows were provided educational materials and attended all didactic sessions. All had clinical rotation in an acute PC unit and an outpatient clinic. All HMO fellows from 2004 to 2017 were asked to complete a 32-item survey on oncology trainee perception of PC.
RESULTS: Of 105 HMO fellows, 77 (73%) completed the survey. HMO fellows reported that PC rotation improved assessment and management of symptoms (98%); opioid prescription (89%), opioid rotation (78%), and identification of opioid adverse effects (87%); communication with patients and families (91%), including advance care planning discussion (88%) and do-not-resuscitate discussion (88%); and they reported comfort with discussing ethical issues (74%). Participants reported improvement in knowledge of symptom assessment and management (n = 76; 98%) as compared with efficacy in ethics (n = 57 [74%]; P = .0001) and for coping with stress of terminal illness (n = 45 [58%]; P = .0001). The PC rotation educational experience was considered either far better or better (53%) or the same (45%) as other oncology rotations. Most respondents (98%) would recommend PC rotations to other HMO fellows, and 95% felt rotation should be mandatory.
CONCLUSION: HMO fellows reported PC rotation improved their attitudes and knowledge in all PC domains. PC rotation was considered better than other oncology rotations and should be mandatory.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning is a crucial end-of-life care practice. However, an advance care planning educational programme for practitioners in an acute care setting has not yet been established. Consequently, we examined the effects of an advance care planning educational programme in an acute hospital in the hope of achieving increased awareness of end-of-life care.
DESIGN: A mixed-methods, pre- and post-design was employed to evaluate the change in attitudes of practitioners post-programme. The intervention programme was conducted thrice over 3 months in 90-min sessions.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: This study included 85 participants in the baseline assessment working at B acute hospital in Osaka.
RESULTS: Participants' scores on the 'Positive attitude for end-of-life care' subscale on the short version of the Frommelt Attitude Toward Care of Dying scale significantly increased after the 6-month intervention. A 'Positive attitude for end-of-life-care' implies that participants would not be afraid to practice end-of-life care. Further, participants' scores on the 'Death relief' subscale of the Death Attitude Inventory also significantly increased. The term 'Death relief' means that death helps in ending suffering. It means participants are not afraid of death. Qualitative results implied that participants believed advance care planning implementation and communicating with patients and patients' families were critical.
CONCLUSIONS: Six months post-intervention, participants displayed sustained positive attitudes towards end-of-life care. These results suggest that the present programme was effective at improving practitioners' attitudes towards patients' end-of-life care.
OBJECTIVE: This study examined advance care planning as delivered by general practice registrars and recently fellowed GPs in New South Wales rural settings. The facilitators and barriers to advance care planning uptake in these areas were investigated, as well as the state of general practice training on advance care planning.
DESIGN: Qualitative descriptive methodology, involving semi-structured face-to-face and telephone interviews.
SETTING: Primary care.
PARTICIPANTS: General practice registrars and recently fellowed GPs in New South Wales rural settings. Definition of rural using the Australian Standard Geographical Classification - Remoteness Area. Thirteen participants were included in the study.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Thematic analysis of interview transcripts elucidated key issues emerging from participants' accounts.
RESULTS: Key barriers included doctor-dependent uptake, demands on doctor's time and the limited relevant resources available. Facilitators recognised were patient control in end-of-life care and long-standing relationships between GPs and their patients. Uptake among patients was low, and minimal training on advance care planning reported.
CONCLUSION: The lack of training opportunities in advance care planning during vocational training, especially when combined with the essential role played by rural GPs in initiating advance care planning and providing end-of-life care, appears to be a major problem that might contribute to poor uptake among patients in rural areas. This study demonstrated, however, the significant benefits that advance care planning could bring in patients living in rural communities if delivered effectively. Given that rural GPs face a number of barriers to providing routine health care, these results highlight an important need to provide GPs and rural communities with support, education, incentive, better administrative tools, options and greater awareness of advance care planning.
Background: With over half of expected deaths occurring in acute hospitals, and a workforce not trained to care for them, good quality end-of-life care in these settings is hard to achieve. The National Consensus Statement on Essential Elements for Safe and High-Quality End-of-Life Care has been translated into e-learning modules by the End of Life Essentials project, and this study aims to demonstrate how clinicians interpret the Consensus Statement in their day-to-day practice by answering the question at the end of each module: 'Tomorrow, the one thing I can change to more appropriately provide end-of-life care is…'.
Methods: The modules were developed by a palliative care educator with the support of a peer review group and were piloted with 35 health professionals. Pre-post module evaluation data were collected and during a 10-month period from 2016 to 2017 a total of 5181 individuals registered for the project accessing one or more of the six modules. The data from 3201 free-text responses to the post hoc practice change question have been analysed, and themes generated.
Findings: Five themes are derived from the data: communication, emotional insight, professional mindset, person-centred care and professional practice.
Conclusion: Learners who have completed End of Life Essentials have shared the ways they state they can change their practice tomorrow which may well be appreciated as a clinical response to the work by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care in leading and coordinating national improvements in quality and safety in healthcare in Australia. While intent cannot guarantee practice change, theory on intention-behaviour relations indicate that intentions have a strong association with behaviour. This indicates that the modules have the ability to influence end-of-life care in acute hospitals.
Coordinating the care of terminally ill children is difficult for both parents and the health care team. An underutilized resource is spiritual care, such as that provided by Pacific Health Ministry, a community-based nonprofit established to develop hospital ministry training programs in Hawai'i and provide chaplaincy services to local facilities. This paper describes a training exercise, called the Pediatric Interprofessional Program (PIPP), which is modeled after an adult program, the Hawai'i Interprofessional Training for End of Life Communication in the intensive care unit (HITEC-ICU). Both programs were developed to introduce teams of learners consisting of Pacific Health Ministry spiritual care residents, internal medicine or pediatric residents, undergraduate students in nursing, and graduate students in social work to techniques in delivering serious, life-altering information, and the dynamics of working as an interprofessional team through use of progressively unfolding clinical simulations. PIPP facilitators included chaplaincy instructors at Pacific Health Ministry, university faculty, and community practitioners in pediatrics, nursing, and social work. The simulations were conducted at the Translational Health Science Simulation Center (THSSC) of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa (UHM) School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene (SONDH), with simulated patients from the HealthCAST (Collaborative Acting Simulation Training) program, a collaborative agreement between SONDH and the UHM Department of Theatre and Dance. The training is ongoing, but has thus far demonstrated that interprofessional education programs are feasible across community, academic, and clinical lines, and benefit from the engagement of community resources.
Context: Most children living and dying with serious illnesses experience high burden of distressing symptoms. Many seriously ill children and their families do not have access to subspecialist pediatric palliative care (PPC) services nor to clinicians trained in primary PPC. Lack of PPC education appears to be a significant barrier to PPC implementation.
Objectives: Description of the development and dissemination of Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care (EPEC)-Pediatrics.
Methods: Funded through a US$1.6 million National Institutes of Health / National Cancer Institute grant 2010-2017, this 24-module curriculum was designed to teach primary palliative care. The target audience included interprofessional pediatric hematology/oncology providers and all other clinicians caring for seriously ill children.
Results: The curriculum is delivered in a combination of online learning and in-person, face-to-face sessions. Additionally, a one-day Professional Development Workshop (PDW) was developed to teach EPEC-Pediatrics graduates to teach future "Trainers," thus becoming "Master Facilitators". Between 2012-May 2019 a total of 867 EPEC-Pediatric Trainers and 75 Master Facilitators from 58 countries participated in 17 Become an EPEC-Pediatrics-Trainer conferences and three PDWs. The curriculum has also been adapted for large-scale dissemination across Canada and Latin-America, with translation to French and Spanish.
Participants: overwhelmingly report improvements in their PPC knowledge, attitudes, and skills, including teaching. Participants subsequently anticipated improvements in patient care for children with serious illness at their home institutions.
Conclusion: EPEC-Pediatrics has developed into the most comprehensive PPC curriculum. It is highly adaptable for local settings, became self-sustaining and six conferences are offered around the world in 2019.
BACKGROUND: The provision of end-of-life care remains a significant component of work for clinicians in critical care settings. Critical care nurses report that this area of practice receives limited attention in education and training.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to identify and describe the end-of-life care content in postgraduate critical care nursing programs in Australia.
METHODS: Using a descriptive exploratory research design, an Internet search was undertaken in August 2015, identifying 17 education providers offering postgraduate critical care nursing programs. Thirteen individuals agreed to participate in a structured telephone interview regarding end-of-life content in their postgraduate program. Descriptive statistics were calculated to summarise the data obtained.
RESULTS: Twelve participants reported that end-of-life care content was explicitly addressed in their postgraduate critical care nursing programs, yet variation in actual content areas covered was evident. The majority of programs addressed content related to organ donation (92%) and legal and ethical issues (77%). However, content least commonly identified as covered pertained to the work of the nurse in providing direct clinical care to the patient at the end of life and his or her family, including the physical changes experienced by the dying patient (31%), respiratory management encompassing withdrawal of ventilation and symptom management (23%), emotional support of family (23%), care of the body after death (23%), and the process of withdrawing life-sustaining treatment (15%). Participants (92%) agreed that end-of-life content was important in postgraduate critical care nursing programs, with 77% of participants agreeing that more time should be allocated to end-of-life content.
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides preliminary evidence of the variation in end-of-life content in postgraduate critical care nursing programs in Australia. Addressing gaps in end-of-life care content in formal education, including clinical care of the dying patient, is urgently needed to address the complexity of this phase of care that is so frequently provided in critical care units.
BACKGROUND: Communication skills may be an important skill for the front-line emergency physicians.
AIM: This study aimed to investigate the effect of training in a SHARE communication course by emergency physicians on patient notification and signing of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders for critical patients in the emergency room.
DESIGN: From a total of 29 attending physicians in the emergency department, 19 physicians had been trained in the SHARE communication course. An observation form designed based on the SHARE training was completed by two observers who noted the communication process between physicians and patients and family members during patient notification and signing a DNR order. To assess the influence of physicians trained in a SHARE communication course on the signing of DNR orders, a propensity score-matched population was created to reduce the potential selection bias of patients and family members.
SETTING: Level 1 trauma medical center in southern Taiwan.
RESULTS: There were 145 individuals enrolled in the study, of which 93 signed the DNR order, and 52 did not sign it. Analysis from 23 matched pairs from this population revealed that significantly more family members would sign a DNR order if the physician had been trained in the SHARE communication course than when they did not receive this training (78.3% vs. 39.1%, respectively, p=0.017). The overall score of the observation form for physicians was higher in those individuals who had signed a DNR order than in those who did not sign it (29.48±3.72 vs. 26.13±3.52, respectively, p=0.003), especially when the physician had chosen a quiet environment (1.35±0.65 vs. 0.87±0.69, respectively, p=0.020), understood the patient's wishes and confirmed them (1.78±0.42 vs. 1.30±0.70, respectively, p=0.008), and expressed concern (1.48±0.79 vs. 0.96±0.77, respectively, p=0.028). In addition, a feedback survey about the feelings experienced by these physicians during the process of patient notification did not reveal a significant difference during the communication with those who had or had not signed DNR orders.
CONCLUSION: The training in a SHARE communication course can improve the communication skills of emergency physicians in patient notification and signing of DNR orders for critical patients.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) is the process of ongoing communication among patients, family and health care professionals regarding what plans for future care are preferred in the event that patients become unable to make their own decisions. Clinicians play an important role in ACP as both initiators and decision coaches. However, lack of training for clinicians has frequently been reported as the reason for low involvement in ACP discussions - hence the present review evaluates the effectiveness of ACP training programs for healthcare professionals to guide the development of novel training programs for them in the future.
METHODS: A literature search for intervention studies was conducted independently by two reviewers in July 2018. Participants included all healthcare professionals working with adult patients suffering from terminal illness. The primary outcomes were the professionals' knowledge of and attitudes towards ACP, and self-perceived competence in ACP conversations. The Effective Public Health Practice Project appraisal tool was used to examine the quality of the studies included.
RESULTS: A total of 4025 articles were identified, and ten eligible articles, covering 1081 participants, were included in the review. However, there is a lack of high quality randomized controlled trials of providing ACP training for nurses working in non-palliative care hospital settings. The overall quality of the intervention studies was moderate. All the studies included used instructional sessions in their interventions, while some contained group discussion, role-play and the use of advanced technology. The training programs increased the knowledge, attitudes towards shared decision-making, perceived communication skills, confidence, comfort and experiences concerned with discussing end-of-life (EOL) issues. Patient advocacy, job satisfaction and perceived level of adequate training for EOL care were improved. The use of 'decision aids' was rated as acceptable and clinically useful.
CONCLUSIONS: Training for healthcare professionals in ACP has positive effects on their knowledge, attitude and skills. The use of decision aids and advanced technology, instructional sessions with role play, training content focused on ACP communication skills and the needs and experience of patient in the ACP process, and a values-based ACP process are all those factors that made the ACP training programs effective.