Background In anticipation of a surge of Covid-19 in March 2020, it became apparent that the delivery of important information to patients‘ relatives would change. High volumes of these conversations were anticipated; a daunting propect for junior medical staff with limited experience and training.
Methods Communication is difficult to teach by didactic means, the aim of this project was to create a simulation based teaching session which could be adapted to a virtual platform to comply with restrictions. A forty-five minute session was developed with scenarios related to specific, important conversations. These included breaking news of a diagnosis, a death or discussion regarding ceilings of treatment. Sessions were conducted with groups of six foundation doctors. At the end of each session, QI methodoloy was applied; adding additional detail to scripts for facilitators for example. Attendees completed structured questionnaires before and after the session. Candidates were asked to self rate their skill in conducting important conversations. The aim was to show an increase in confidence following the intervention.
Results Seventeen attendees filled out the questionnaire prior to the session. Eight attendees completed the post-session feedback for comparison. Participants were given statements and asked the extent to which they agreed. Sliding scales of 1–10 were used for responses; 1 being strongly disagree and 10 being strongly agree. There was a global increase in confidence in specific skills covered by the session. On pre-intervention survey, respondents reported a wide range of prior education (Range = 7). This range decreased to 4 following the session. (Pretest Median 4, Posttest Median 8). Qualitative feedback was extremely positive.
Conclusions Results proved an increase in attendees assurance that their training in important conversations was adequate. This was in an engaging and beneficial session which could be made accessible for delivery to other groups of healthcare professionsals.
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