BMC Palliative Care
Rai A, Mason S.
With increased demand for palliative care (PC), the World Health Organisation (WHO) have called for PC teaching to be made routine. However, medical students report feeling unprepared in dealing with end-of-life care. Necessary benchmarking of the preparedness of clinicians to provide PC is required to identify where current training is sub-optimal and ensure future doctors are equipped to meet the needs of their patients. The aim of this study is to assess the utility of an electronic International Medical Education in Palliative Care (IMEP-e) assessment tool that examines the preparedness of clinicians to provide PC.
A multi-phase pilot study. Phase 1: To transpose the Self-Efficacy Palliative Care Scale (SEPCs) and the Thanatophobia Scale (TS) to an electronic format and evaluate its utility. Phase 2: To assess the effects of PC teaching by comparing data from year three (Y3) and year five (Y5 - who have participated in PC placement) medical students. Scales: The 23 item SEPC and 7 item TS assess attitudes towards caring for dying patients.
Total questionnaires sent =360 (280 Y3, 80 Y5). Total response rate = 46.39%, n = 167 (127 Y3, 40 Y5). Completed data: n = 125 (95 Y3, 30 Y5). Analysis identified statistically significant differences (p < 0.001) between year groups across all subscales of the SEPC; communication skills (t = - 13.52), Pain and Treatment management (t = - 14.25) and multidisciplinary management (t = - 7.89). The TS shows a statistically significant increased positive attitudes (z = - 2.85 p < 0.005). From the focus group, three themes were identified from the qualitative feedback including university based teaching, hospice based teaching and utility of IMEP-e tool.
The IMEP-e tool is a viable and comparable method for collecting data on the preparedness to practice PC. A larger scale study is needed to determine and evaluate if, and how, preparing clinicians to work in PC has been adapted in to routine training.