Background Palliative care is best delivered through a multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach, facilitating improved team functioning, patient care and practitioner wellbeing through collective discussion.1 2 The location of an MDT meeting, online or in-person, may impact professional contributions and overall value.2 Increasingly, technology is being utilised to facilitate discussions.3 We aimed to pilot an online teaching session for medical students showcasing MDT roles, recognising challenges of delivering a concept reliant on inter-team discussion in a virtual environment.
Methods We designed a voluntary educational intervention for medical students interested in palliative care centred around two fictional hospital inpatients discussed in a virtual MDT. A multi-professional team was recruited (chaplain, clinical nurse specialist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, clinician) led by a chair. Cases were designed to highlight MDT roles and reduce focus on the physician, with opportunities for questions. A practice session was conducted pre-event. Learning points included attributes and benefits of effective MDTs and understanding roles. Pre and post online surveys were distributed.
Results 6 participants attended this 60-minute pilot session with 83% (n=5) completing both pre and post surveys. Post-survey feedback indicated greater understanding of MDT roles (including that of the physician) with 100% (n=5) identifying they understood each professional’s role (agree/strongly agree). Students cited features of an effective MDT including teamwork, communication, respect, structure. A better understanding of chaplaincy role was particularly valued.
Conclusion The intervention was time and resource intensive, reliant on technology adequacy – although this did facilitate remote attendance. Intervention timing (evening) likely impacted attendance. Although a small sample size, the intervention was well-received. Objectives of showcasing teamwork and adequate communication were met, despite online delivery. This virtual model could feasibly be delivered on a larger scale. There may be value in showcasing to other healthcare professionals. The option to record could further expand audience and convenience of access.
Team approaches in palliative care: a review of the literature. Fernando G, Hughes S et al. International Journal of Palliative Nursing. 2019; 25(9):444–451. Abstract available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31585054/
Borgstrom E, Cohn S, et al. Multidisciplinary team meetings in palliative care: an ethnographic study. BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care 2021;0:1–4. Available at: https://spcare.bmj.com/content/bmjspcare/early/2021/09/29/bmjspcare-2021-003267.full.pdf
Sidpra J, Chhabda S, et al. Virtual multidisciplinary team meetings in the age of COVID-19: an effective and pragmatic alternative. Quantitative Imaging in Medicine and Surgery 2020 Jun;10(6):1204–1207. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7276359/
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