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Let's talk about it: communication skills
Novel Teaching of Advance Care Planning Conversations for Family Doctors
  1. C Corke and
  2. S Milnes
  1. Deakin University


Though most doctors recognize the value of Advance Care Planning (ACP) only a minority of doctors feel comfortable raising the topic with patients. This results in many patients being denied the opportunity to plan.

The literature suggests approaches that are effective and some doctors represent excellent role models. We have reviewed published approaches and have recorded the conversations of doctors who appear to have highly effective strategies for the communication of the ACP message (and others who feel that their discussions are ineffective and uncomfortable).

Using this information we have designed and implemented a teaching program that clearly teaches an approach that is acceptable to patients and which encourages patients to engage in ACP.

Family Doctors require teaching that is easily accessible and flexible so this program includes multimodal educational components including DVD examples of good and bad approaches (with critical commentary) and an eSim component where doctors are able to conduct an on-line simulated dialogue with a simulated patient. In the case of the eSim there is ability to record and to score performance.

This project demonstrates a novel education system to explain effective language to those family doctors who recognize the benefit of ACP but lack the skills to introduce the topic without upsetting their patients.

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