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Teaching clinicians to talk about the end of life

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Two new papers published in Journal of Pain and Symptom Management present the findings of a systematic review of end of life care communication skills training interventions for generalist providers of end of life care.

The first describes the state of the science in terms of training provided, evaluation methods used, and reporting quality, of over 150 interventions identified. The second assesses the impact of such training on staff behaviours and patient-reported outcomes through meta-analysis of results from randomised controlled trials. Few reported involving patients and families developing their intervention, most evaluations did not have a control group, and reporting quality was inconsistent. New guidance is suggested to improve the latter. Meta-analyses showed effects of training on staff behaviours, but results regarding patient-reported outcomes were inconclusive.

 For more information, please see the following blogs posts: 

https://eapcnet.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/end-of-life-care-communication-training-for-generalists-improvements-in-showing-empathy-and-discussing-emotions-but-more-effective-in-simulated-patient-encounters-than-real-ones/

 https://capcbristol.blogs.ilrt.org/2017/09/20/how-do-we-teach-clinicians-to-talk-about-the-end-of-life/

 And for the full open access publications, please see:

 Brighton, L.J., Koffman, J., Hawkins, A., McDonald, C., O’Brien, S., Robinson, V., Khan, S.A., George, R., Higginson, I.J., Selman, L.E. A systematic review of end of life care communication skills training for generalist palliative care providers: research quality and reporting guidance. J Pain Symptom Manage: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. 2017;04(8): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2017.04.008

 Selman, L.E., Brighton, L.J., Hawkins, A., McDonald, C., O'Brien, S., Robinson, V., Khan, S.A., George, R., Ramsenthaler, C., Higginson, I.J. and Koffman, J. S. The effect of communication skills training for generalist palliative care providers on patient-reported outcomes and clinician behaviours: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2017;01(8): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2017.04.007