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P-40 Online simulation to educate the workforce in breaking bad news to people with learning disabilities
  1. Helen Needham and
  2. Kara Fereday
  1. Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK


Background Using actors in end of life scenario based simulation as a teaching method, allows for exploration of communication, emotional responses and authenticity in developing confidence and competence (MacLean, Kelly, Geddes, et al., 2017; Coleman & McLaughlin, 2019). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this abstract’s co-author initiated interactive, face-to-face online scenario based simulation across pre-registration nursing at Birmingham City University (Warren et al, 2021). Evidence shows us that people with learning disabilities experience extensive health inequalities which impacts on mortality (Heslop, Blair, Fleming et al., 2013; National Institute for Health Research, 2020). In addition the quality of palliative care received by this group can contribute to poorer outcomes that are often avoidable (Hospice UK, 2021). However, using suitable methods of communication to impart information in a format that allows for deeper understanding opens up potential for greater quality of life and expectancy (Heslop, Blair, Fleming et al., 2013; National Institute for Health Research, 2020).

Aim To practice the skill of breaking bad news to people with learning disabilities, by using actors in simulated end-of-life patient scenarios.

Methods On MS Teams in small groups, with a facilitator, to engage all learners in an interactive, authentic and safe experience with an actor. Varied scenarios were used to demonstrate breaking bad news to a person with learning disabilities. A multipoint positive feedback approach was adopted.

Results Reflective evaluative feedback from students demonstrate a deeper confidence in breaking bad news. This included a perceived lessening of anxiety when involved in discussing breaking bad news in practice generally. Confirmation of online simulation as a valuable practical skills-based learning experience.

Conclusion This is now embedded in the future nurse curriculum and is applicable to a wider workforce approach including post-registration practitioners - both generalist and those working within learning disabilities and end-of-life care. This activity is being considered for inclusion in the co-authors’ future PhD studies.

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