Training Pediatric Fellows in Palliative Care: A Pilot Comparison of Simulation Training and Didactic Education.
BACKGROUND:Pediatric fellows receive little palliative care (PC) education and have few opportunities to practice communication skills. OBJECTIVE:In this pilot study, we assessed (1) the relative effectiveness of simulation-based versus didactic education, (2) communication skill retention, and (3) effect on PC consultation rates. DESIGN:Thirty-five pediatric fellows in cardiology, critical care, hematology/oncology, and neonatology at two institutions enrolled: 17 in the intervention (simulation-based) group (single institution) and 18 in the control (didactic education) group (second institution). Intervention group participants participated in a two-day program over three months (three simulations and videotaped PC panel). Control group participants received written education designed to be similar in content and time. MEASUREMENTS:(1) Self-assessment questionnaires were completed at baseline, post-intervention and three months; mean between-group differences for each outcome measure were assessed. (2) External reviewers rated simulation-group encounters on nine communication domains. Within-group changes over time were assessed. (3) The simulation-based site's PC consultations were compared in the six months pre- and post-intervention. RESULTS:Compared to the control group, participants in the intervention group improved in self-efficacy (p = 0.003) and perceived adequacy of medical education (p < 0.001), but not knowledge (p = 0.20). Reviewers noted nonsustained improvement in four domains: relationship building (p = 0.01), opening discussion (p = 0.03), gathering information (p = 0.01), and communicating accurate information (p = 0.04). PC consultation rate increased 64%, an improvement when normalized to average daily census (p = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS:This simulation-based curriculum is an effective method for improving PC comfort, education, and consults. More frequent practice is likely needed to lead to sustained improvements in communication competence.
Brock, KE; Cohen, HJ; Sourkes, BM; Good, JJ; Halamek, LP
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