OBJECTIVES: Having early discussions with seriously ill patients about their priorities and values can improve their peace of mind and family outcomes during bereavement; however, physicians and medical students report feeling underprepared to hold serious illness conversations. We evaluated the impact of the Serious Illness Care Program clinician training workshop on medical learners' knowledge of comfort and confidence in holding such conversations.
METHODS: Eligible learners were penultimate- or final-year medical students or first-year residents of generalist programs (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine). Learners participated in a 2.5-hour workshop involving reflection on serious illness discussions, didactic teaching and demonstration of the Serious Illness Conversation Guide (SICG), role play with standardized patients, direct observation, and feedback from experts. Participants completed pre- and post-intervention questionnaires with Likert-type scale and open-ended questions, which were analyzed using paired t tests and qualitative content analysis, respectively.
RESULTS: We enrolled 25 learners. The intervention was associated with an increase in knowledge (P < .001) and self-efficacy (P < .001). All learners reported gaining new skills, with a majority specifically identifying a framework for structuring serious illness conversations in the qualitative analysis (n = 14, 56%). Participants stated the workshops would improve their comfort in holding serious illness conversations (n = 24, 96%), and that it would be valuable to integrate the workshops into their formal curricula (n = 23, 92%).
CONCLUSIONS: Training on the use of the SICG is novel for medical students and first-year residents and associated with the improvement in their knowledge of and perceived capacity to hold serious illness conversations. This study suggests that the integration of SICG training into medical curricula may have educational value.
Cet ouvrage réunit l'intégrallité du programme, les recommandations et les cours officiels, des données de la banque nationle d'entraînement Sides ainsi que les informations indispensables à connaître pour se préparer aux ECNi (Epreuves Classantes Nationales informatisées).
Objective: Neurosurgeons care for critically ill patients near the end of life, yet little is known about how well their training prepares them for this role. We surveyed a random sample of neurosurgery residents to describe the quantity and quality of teaching activities related to serious illness communication and palliative care, and resident attitudes and perceived preparedness to care for seriously ill patients.
Methods: A previously validated survey instrument was adapted to reflect required communication and palliative care competencies in the 2015 the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Milestones for Neurological Surgery. The survey was reviewed for content validity by independent faculty neurosurgeons, piloted with graduating neurosurgical residents, and distributed online in August 2016 to neurosurgery residents in the United States using the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)/Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Joint Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care email listserv. Multiple choice and Likert scale responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: Sixty-two responses were recorded between August 2016 and October 2016. Most respondents reported no explicit teaching on: explaining risks and benefits of intubation and ventilation (69%), formulating prognoses in neurocritical care (60%), or leading family meetings (69%). Compared to performing craniotomies, respondents had less frequent practice leading discussions about withdrawing life-sustaining treatment (61% vs. 90%, p < 0.01, "weekly or more frequently"), and were less often observed (18% vs. 87%, p < 0.01) and given feedback on their performance (11% vs. 58%, p < 0.01). Nearly all respondents (95%) felt "prepared to discuss withdrawing life-sustaining treatments," however half (48%) reported they "would benefit from more communication training during residency." Most (87%) reported moral distress, agreeing that they "participated in operations and worried whether surgery aligned with patient goals."
Conclusions: Residents in our sample reported limited formal training, and relatively less observation and feedback, on required ACGME competencies in palliative care and communication. Most reported preparedness in this domain, but many were receptive to more training. Better quality and more consistent palliative care education in neurosurgery residency could improve competency and help ensure that neurosurgical care aligns with patient goals.
CONTEXT: There is a need to improve both primary palliative care (PPC) education and its assessment in graduate medical education (GME). We developed an instrument based on published palliative care (PC) competencies to assess resident competency and educational interventions.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the development and psychometric properties of a novel, competency-based instrument to measure resident knowledge and self-efficacy in PPC.
METHODS: We created a 2-part instrument comprised of a knowledge test (KT) and a self-efficacy inventory (SEI) addressing 18 consensus, core PC resident competencies across 5 domains: pain and symptom management; communication; psychosocial, spiritual, and cultural aspects of care; terminal care and bereavement; and PC principles and practice. The instrument was distributed to 341 internal medicine residents during academic years 2015 to 2016 and 2016 to 2017. A standard item analysis was performed on the KT. Internal consistency (Cronbach a) and variable relationships (factor analysis) were measured for the SEI.
RESULTS: One hundred forty-four residents completed the survey (42% response). For 15 KT items, difficulty ranged from 0.17 to 0.98, with 7 items ranging 0.20 to 0.80 (typical optimum difficulty); discrimination ranged from 0.03 to 0.60 with 10 items =0.27 (good to very good discrimination). Cronbach a was 0.954 for 35 SEI items. Factor analysis of combined 2015 to 2016 items yielded 4 factors explaining the majority of variance for the entire set of variables.
CONCLUSION: Our instrument demonstrates promising psychometric properties and reliability in probing the constructs of PC and can be further utilized in PC GME research to assess learners and evaluate PPC educational interventions.
Research aims: This scoping review maps the existing literature on narrative interventions within a palliative care and end-of-life context.
Methods: A scoping review was performed to address the research question: What observational or randomized controlled trials have been performed to evaluate narrative interventions in the palliative care setting? A search across multiple electronic databases was performed. The search results were screened. Relevant articles were reviewed for the identification of common themes and challenges.
Results: After reviewing 495 citations from electronic searches, and 44 articles from author archives or from manual review of article reference lists, we identified 34 articles for inclusion. Narrative interventions have focused on reflection or communication, and have been studied among providers, students, patients, and caregivers. Only patient/caregiver studies utilized randomized controlled design. Most studies were small and at the level of evaluating feasibility. Challenges include a high degree of heterogeneity among interventions, as well as heterogeneity among parameters for evaluating those interventions.
Conclusion: Narrative interventions are actively being evaluated with the intention of improving communication and wellbeing among all parties within the palliative care and end-of-life experience. The field would benefit from selecting a subset of outcomes that are comparable across studies, and a common framework for describing narrative interventions. Scant literature exists regarding narrative interventions to assist providers in communication.
BACKGROUND: Mentoring nurtures a mentee's personal and professional development. Yet conflation of mentoring approaches and a failure to contend with mentoring's nature makes it difficult to study mentoring processes and relationships. This study aims to understand of mentee experiences in the Palliative Medicine Initiative (PMI). The PMI uses a consistent mentoring approach amongst a homogeneous mentee population offers a unique opportunity to circumnavigate conflation of practices and the limitations posed by mentoring's nature. The data will advance understanding of mentoring processes.
METHODS: Sixteen mentees discussed their PMI experiences in individual face-to-face audio-recorded interviews. The two themes identified from thematic analysis of interview transcripts were the stages of mentoring and communication.
RESULTS: The 6 stages of mentoring are the 'pre-mentoring stage', 'initial research meetings', 'data gathering', 'review of initial findings, 'manuscript preparation" and 'reflections'. These subthemes sketch the progression of mentees from being dependent on the mentor for support and guidance, to an independent learner with capacity and willingness to mentor others. Each subtheme is described as stages in the mentoring process (mentoring stages) given their association with a specific phase of the research process. Mentoring processes also pivot on effective communication which are influenced by the mentor's characteristics and the nature of mentoring interactions.
CONCLUSION: Mentoring relationships evolve in stages to ensure particular competencies are met before mentees progress to the next part of their mentoring process. Progress is dependent upon effective communication and support from the mentor and appropriate and timely adaptations to the mentoring approach to meet the mentee's needs and goals. Adaptations to the mentoring structure are informed by effective and holistic evaluation of the mentoring process and the mentor's and mentee's abilities, goals and situations. These findings underline the need to review and redesign the way assessments of the mentoring process are constructed and how mentoring programs are structured.
BACKGROUND: Personal experiences with death and dying are common among medical students, but little is known about student attitudes and emotional responses to these experiences. Our objectives were to ascertain matriculating medical students' experiences with death and dying, describe the range of students' emotional responses, and identify reactions, behaviors, and perceived roles related to these and future experiences with death.
METHODS: We provided a writing prompt to newly matriculated medical students asking them to "reflect on experiences you may have had with family or friends near the end of life." Content analysis was performed to identify themes in the responses.
RESULTS: The 104 students in the entering class submitted 90 individual free-text responses (87%). Most (57%) students specifically mentioned at least 1 personal experience with death, with a range of emotional responses including sadness (29%), surprise (14%), and guilt (12%). Distinct themes emerged on content analysis including personal experiences with death, anticipated response to death in future, changes in body or mind of the dying person, thoughts and observations about others, and cognitive or existential responses. Few students wrote about religion or spirituality (8%) or palliative or hospice care (2%).
CONCLUSIONS: An understanding of students' premedical school experiences and emotional reactions to death may help educators frame curricula around end-of-life care. Educators could apply enhanced awareness to help students process their own experiences as they begin caring for patients and to focus on areas that were underrepresented in students' comments, such as religion, spirituality, palliative care, and hospice.
BACKGROUND/AIM: Appropriate decision-making in end-of-life (EOL) care is essential for both junior and senior physicians. The aim of this study was to compare the decision-making and attitudes of medical students with those of experienced general practitioners (GP) regarding EOL-care.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A questionnaire presenting three cancer patient scenarios concerning decisions and ethical aspects of EOL-care was offered to 500 Finnish GPs and 639 graduating medical students in 2015-2016.
RESULTS: Responses were received from 222 (47%) GPs and 402 (63%) students. The GPs withdrew antibiotics (p<0.001) and nasogastric tubes (p=0.007) and withheld resuscitation (p<0.001), blood transfusions (p=0.002) and pleural drainage (p<0.001) more often than did the students. The students considered euthanasia and assisted suicide less reprehensible (p<0.001 in both) than did the GPs.
CONCLUSION: Medical students were more unwilling to withhold and withdraw therapies in EOL-care than were the GPs, but the students considered euthanasia less reprehensible. Medical education should include aspects of decision-making in EOL-care.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) is an essential skill for clinicians, yet trainees feel inadequately prepared to conduct ACP discussions. Optimal teaching methods and timing are unknown.
AIM: We designed a curricular intervention to expose second-year medical students to the process of ACP, aiming to improve their ACP knowledge and confidence.
DESIGN: The intervention consisted of a case-based workshop facilitated by a physician experienced in ACP ("facilitated ACP workshop"), which was added to an existing multifaceted ACP curriculum (longitudinal senior mentor program including multiple visits with a volunteer older adult, completion of an electronic ACP learning module and reflective writing exercise). The control group received the existing ACP curriculum only, while the intervention group received the existing curriculum plus the facilitated ACP workshop. Both groups completed an ACP knowledge assessment and confidence survey at the conclusion of the curriculum.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Two consecutive classes of second year medical students, single academic hospital.
RESULTS: No statistically significant differences in ACP knowledge or confidence were seen post-intervention. Overall confidence with ACP tasks remained relatively low despite a multifaceted ACP curriculum.
CONCLUSIONS: Future studies should investigate longitudinal, experiential ACP learning, and seek to optimize ACP teaching strategies and timing.
Background: Moral distress is a frequent phenomenon in end-of-life care. It occurs when one knows the morally correct response to an ethically challenging situation, but cannot act because of internal or external constraints. Medical students-having a perceived low level in the hospital hierarchy-may be particularly vulnerable to moral distress.
Objective: To assess the frequency and intensity of medical students' moral distress occurring in end-of-life care.
Design: We developed a questionnaire describing 10 potentially morally distressing scenarios in end-of-life care.
Setting: The questionnaire was distributed to all fourth-year students of a German medical school.
Measurements: We asked students (1) if they had ever witnessed the described scenarios and (2) to rate the extent (numeric rating scale 0-4) of moral distress for each situation.
Results: Of 340 students, 217 (64%) completed the survey. On average, students had experienced 2.51 morally distressing situations (standard deviation = ±2.23). The majority of students (N = 163, 75%) had experienced at least one morally distressing situation. Providing futile care with the basic intention to make money was the item with the highest levels of experienced distress (2.88 ± 1.05), witnessed by 54 (25%) participants. Twenty-five students (12%) reported that they had thought about dropping out of medical school or choosing a nonclinical specialty because of moral distress.
Conclusions: Medical students experience moral distress regularly and most frequently in scenarios of futile care. This may be an underestimated factor for medical school attrition. Interventions should identify the sources of moral distress and empower students to address their moral concerns.
CONTEXT: Experience-based learning may contribute to confidence, competence and professional identity; early experiences may be particularly formative. This study explored how pre-clinical students make sense of their participation in the provision of end-of-life care within community settings.
METHODS: We performed dialogic narrative analysis on essays written by junior medical students in New Zealand. Students had reflected on their participation as assistant caregivers in nursing homes, contributing to the personal care of the elderly residents who lived there. Essays had been submitted to a reflective writing competition that was run separately from the students' medical studies. We analysed five essays about nursing placements, focusing on students' stories about their engagement with residents who were suffering or were receiving end-of-life care.
RESULTS: In their essays, students wrote about powerful and at times intense learning experiences during these early clinical attachments; their attitudes to death and dying were both highlighted and changed. Allied health professionals (e.g. caregivers) provided important support for student learning, especially in relation to seminal encounters such as those occurring in the course of providing end-of-life care. Support increased students' participation and confidence. Reflective writing helped students make sense of their learning and led them to think about their own professional identities, even in the absence of observing or working with doctors in those settings.
CONCLUSIONS: Students' reflections revealed that they tend to filter their learning experiences through the lens of future doctoring, especially when involved in challenging clinical situations. Although medical schools have limited influence on interprofessional relationships or mentoring within the environment of community hospitals, support from other staff can help junior students make the most of their engagement in end-of-life care. In-depth reflection may facilitate the links between experience-based learning and students' emerging ideas about their own professional identities, but the underlying mechanisms need further exploration.
This study investigates medical trainees' experiences with dying and death, by means of semistructured interviews. Nine medical students and nine residents reported a total of 114 experiences. The great majority of these experiences took place during the final year of medical school. The authors identified the latent characteristics, which illustrate an in-depth understanding of the significance of the described experiences. Three main themes emerged: circumstances of death, personal relationship, and one's own role. The age of the dying person, the extent of suffering, time frame and setting, and the patients' behaviors were factors that influence the perceptions of the experiences. The interviewees reported powerful emotional consternation by the patients' deaths with whom they had developed a close relationship. Failure, helplessness, and guilt were negatively associated perceptions of one's own role. This study illustrates the tension between emotional concern and professional detachment. It highlights the continuing existence of a physician image, in which control represents the key issue.
In this narrative, a third-year medical student recounts an experience with a patient she had while accompanying hospice and palliative workers on home visits. It was a tragic scene to witness, but somehow she left with spirits light. The afternoon with this woman-who suffered from Alzheimer's Disease-stood out. The medical student still thinks about her to this day.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Only about one-third of adult Americans have completed advance directives for end-of-life care, and primary care physicians report that they are not always comfortable discussing advance care planning (ACP) with patients. Current approaches to teaching clinicians about ACP have limited evidence of effectiveness. With the objective of improving residents' comfort and skill discussing ACP with patients, we developed a curriculum that involved clinicians and attorneys working together to teach first-year family medicine residents (R1) about leading ACP discussions with patients.
METHODS: Our curriculum consisted of a 1-hour multimedia training session on ACP followed by a series of direct in-exam room observations. Attorney and/or physician faculty observed residents holding ACP discussions with patients and provided structured feedback to residents about their performance. The initial R1 cohort observed had a series of three direct observations; the subsequent R1 cohort had two direct observations. We developed an evaluation tool with a 5-point developmental scale (beginner, novice, developing, near mastery, mastery) corresponding to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's milestone system to score residents' performance.
RESULTS: R1 performance improved from the beginner/novice level during the first observed ACP discussion to the novice/developing level during the second or third discussion, representing an increase in competence to that expected of a second- or early third-year resident.
CONCLUSION: Based on our initial experience, using medical-legal partnerships to teach residents about ACP may be more effective than previously reported approaches. Validation of our results with a larger sample is needed.
BACKGROUND: In rural communities, providing hospice care can be a challenge. Hospice personnel sometimes travel great distances to reach patients, resulting in difficulty maintaining access, quality, cost-effectiveness, and safety. In 1998, the University of Kansas Medical Center piloted the country's first TeleHospice (TH) service. At that time, challenges with broad adoption due to cost and attitudes regarding technology were noted. A second TH project was launched in early 2017 using newer technology; this article updates that ongoing implementation.
METHODS: The Organizational Change Manager was followed for the guided selection of the hospice partner. The University of Kansas Medical Center partnered with Hospice Services, Inc. (HSI), a leader in rural hospice care, providing services to 16 Kansas counties. Along with mobile tablets, a secure cloud-based videoconferencing solution was chosen for ease of use.
RESULTS: From August 2017 through January 2018, 218 TH videoconferencing encounters including 917 attendees occurred. Calls were made for direct patient care, family support, and administrative purposes. These TH calls have been shown to save HSI money, and initial reports suggest they may strengthen the communication and relationships between staff, patients, and the patient's family.
CONCLUSION: Finding innovative, cost-effective, and community-driven approaches such as TH are needed to continually advance hospice care. TeleHospice's potential to supplement and improve hospice services while reducing costs is significant, but continued research is needed to understand best fit within frontier hospices, to inform future urban applications, and to address reimbursement.
Interest and appreciation for palliative care (PC) has resulted in increased demand for both PC services and education. The PC rotation has been shown to improve PC knowledge in medical students (MS) and internal medicine (IM) residents, and PC specialists stand poised to direct the primary PC education of learners at different levels of training. To concurrently teach learners of different levels of training on a busy PC service, we created an educational system that emphasizes management of learner schedules, organization of teaching activities, faculty development to improve teaching skills, and learner self-evaluation. Both MS and IM residents showed an improvement in self-assessed competence as well as increased comfort level with seriously ill patients after PC rotation. Careful adjustment of learner schedules has accommodated an increasing number of learners, while maintaining a low learner to faculty ratio. The PC educators face an exciting and daunting challenge as the number of patients with PC needs and the number of learners requesting PC experience grow. We continue to improve milestone-based PC assessment tools, to invest in faculty development, and to explore innovative ways to support PC educators as they strive to provide consistent PC education that is both useful for learners and can be incorporated into busy PC clinical practice.
BACKGROUND: Virtual reality (VR) immersive environments have been shown to be effective in medical teaching. Our university hospital received funding from our deanery, Health Education in Wales, to film teaching videos with a 360-degree camera.
AIMS: To evaluate whether VR is an effective and acceptable teaching environment. VR headsets were set up for medical students who rotated through Velindre Cancer Hospital's Palliative Care department.
METHODS: Students were asked to put on a VR headset and experience a pre-recorded 27 min presentation on nausea and vomiting in palliative care settings. They subsequently viewed a radiotherapy treatment experience from a patient's point of view.
RESULTS: Of the 72 medical students who participated, 70 found the experience comfortable, with two students stating they felt the experience uncomfortable (1=too tight; 1=blurry visuals). Numerical scoring on ability to concentrate in VR from 0 to 10 (0=worst, 10=best) scored an average of 8.44 (range, 7-10). Asked whether this format suited their learning style, average score was 8.31 (range 6-10). 97.2 % (n=70) students stated that they would recommend this form of learning to a colleague, with one student saying he/she would not recommend and another stating he/she was unsure. Students left anonymous free-text feedback comments which helped frame future needs in this emerging area.
DISCUSSION: This study suggests that there is room for exploring new ways of delivering teaching and expanding it more widely in palliative care and oncology, but also provides feedback on areas that need further careful attention. Comments from students included: "Might have been the novelty factor but I learnt more from this 20 min VR thing than I have from many lectures".
SUMMARY: The project has proved sufficiently popular in medical student feedback, that the VR experience is now available on YouTube and has been permanently introduced into routine teaching. Further 360-degree teaching environments have been filmed. Of note is that our 360-degree videos have been viewed in Africa, so this format of teaching could prove valuable due to its global reach.
Context: Although palliative care is rapidly being disseminated throughout Japan as a result of government policy, a systematic syllabus of palliative medicine for physicians has not been developed.
Aims: This study aimed to develop a Japanese national consensus syllabus of palliative medicine for physicians.
Design: We used a modified Delphi method to develop the consensus syllabus.
Methods and Setting: We created a Delphi panel by selecting 20 expert eligible panelists consisting of Diplomate or Faculty of the Specialty Board of Palliative Medicine and certified by the Japanese Society for Palliative Medicine. We inducted external reviewers from 11 palliative care-related organizations.
Results: Among 20 experts surveyed, 20 (100%) responded over all rounds. Ten (50%) participated in a panel meeting. In the first round, 179 of 179 (100%) learning objectives were judged to be appropriate and 5 of 179 (3%) learning objectives were judged to be too difficult. In the panel meeting, 25 learning objectives were excluded, three new learning objectives were added, and 15 learning objectives were reworded. In the second round, 18 of 18 (100%) learning objectives were judged to be appropriate. The final version of the syllabus developed consists of 157 specific behavioural objectives and 22 general instructional objectives across 22 courses.
Conclusions: We have developed the first national consensus syllabus of palliative medicine for physicians in Japan. Based on this syllabus, a training program on palliative medicine will be established by training facilities in Japan, and physicians will be able to practice specific palliative care.