JOURNAL ARTICLE

A controlled trial of a short course to improve residents' communication with patients at the end of life

Stewart C Alexander, Sheri A Keitz, Richard Sloane, James A Tulsky
Academic Medicine: Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 2006, 81 (11): 1008-12
17065871

PURPOSE: High-quality palliative care requires physicians who communicate effectively, yet many do not receive adequate training. Leading efforts to demonstrate the effectiveness of such training have involved time-intensive programs that included primarily attending physicians, which have been conducted outside of the United States. The goal was to evaluate the effect of a short course to improve residents' communication skills delivering bad news and eliciting patients' preferences for end-of-life care.

METHOD: This prospective trial enrolled internal medicine residents at Duke University Medical Center from 1999 to 2001. The course consisted of small-group teaching with lecture, discussion, and role-play. The outcome measure was observed communication skills delivering bad news and eliciting patients' preferences for end-of-life treatment, assessed via audio-recorded standardized patient encounters before and after receiving the intervention.

RESULTS: Thirty-seven residents received the intervention and 19 were in the control group. Residents attending the course demonstrated statistically significant increases in their overall skill ratings in the delivery of bad news, with improvement in the specific areas of information giving and responding to emotional cues. Although cumulative scores for discussions about patient preferences for treatment did not increase, residents demonstrated enhanced specific skills including discussing probability, presenting clinical scenarios, and asking about prior experience with end-of-life decision making.

CONCLUSION: A relatively short, intensive course can improve the end-of-life communication skills of U.S. medical residents.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article

Discussion

You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read
17065871
×

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.

×

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"