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P-86 Online simulation with actors to educate practitioners in breaking bad news to people with learning disabilities
  1. Kara Fereday and
  2. Helen Needham
  1. Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK


Background Using actors in 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. Nurs Ed Today. 48: 90; Coleman & McLaughlin, 2019. Br J Nurs. 28: 1300). Following the COVID-19 pandemic online simulation was adopted at Birmingham City University (Warren, et al., 2021, Nursing Times. 117: 34) and developed for the Palliative and End of Life Care module as part of the Post Qualifying programme.

Evidence shows us that people with learning disabilities experience extensive health inequalities which impacts on mortality (Heslop et al., 2013; NIHR, 2020). In addition, the quality of palliative care received by this group can contribute to poorer outcomes that are often avoidable (Hospice UK, 2021). Using suitable methods of communication to impart information in a format that allows for deeper understanding opens potential for greater quality of life and expectancy (Heslop et al., 2013; NIHR 2020).

Aim To practice the skill of ‘Breaking Bad News’ to people with learning disabilities, by using actors in simulated 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.

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 after being involved with simulation. Confirmation of online simulation as a valuable practical skills-based learning experience.

Conclusion This is now embedded in the Post Qualifying Introduction to Palliative and End of Life Care module and is applicable to a wider workforce approach including practitioners both generalist and those working within Learning Disabilities and End of Life Care. This is a focus of co-author doctorate studies.

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