The need for palliative and end-of-life care (PEOLC) education in prelicensure education has been identified. PEOLC requires effective collaborative teamwork. The competencies required for effective collaborative teamwork are only now emerging and methods to evaluate them must be developed.
The adaptation of the traditional Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) for assessment of a student team addressing palliative care issues was undertaken. The McMaster-Ottawa Team Observed Structured Clinical Encounter (TOSCE) is intended as a formative evaluation tool for both competencies in interprofessional collaboration for patient-centered practice and PEOLC.
Three stations based on palliative care scenarios were developed. From January 2007 to January 2008, a total of 141 students and 38 observers participated in the evaluation of three stations, with 6-7 students per group and two observers per station. Observers completed checklists for both PEOLC and interprofessional collaborative competencies and, after completing the TOSCEs, students and observers completed questionnaires on their feasibility and acceptability.
Eighty-nine percent of the students and 44% of the observers were from medicine. Students and observers found the TOSCE to be an acceptable and feasible assessment tool for both sets of competencies. Reliability and validity data show that the items in both the clinical and interprofessional checklists fit well together, and interrater reliability is readily achieved.
The new formative evaluation TOSCE tool, adapted from the traditional OSCE, was acceptable and feasible to students and observers.
This project brought together community-based practitioners and academics to develop and deliver interventions designed to enhance the leadership abilities of the designated leaders of seven rural/small town-based palliative care teams. Members of these community-based teams have already gained recognition for their teams' leadership and service delivery in their communities. All of the teams had worked closely with most members of the academic team prior to this project. The team members participated in a needs assessment exercise developed by the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa Health Service and University of Ottawa academic team. Results of the needs assessment identified leadership qualities that had contributed to their success, as well as their needs to further enhance their individual leadership qualities. The team effort, however, was the most important factor contributing to the success of their work. The interventions developed to address the identified needs had to be adapted creatively through the collaborative efforts of both the community and academic teams. The educational interventions facilitated the integration of learning at the individual and community level into the busy work schedules of primary health care providers.
A need to introduce the concepts of death and dying to the medical and health sciences undergraduate curriculum was identified at the University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. As care of the terminally ill is complex and requires the collaborative involvement of a diverse group of health care professionals, an interprofessional educational approach was utilized to address this need. A seminar course was developed using popular literature as the basis for learning, and offered to first and second year medical students, fourth year nursing students and graduate students in spiritual care. The discussion of roles and the provision of care within the context of works of selected literature provided a focus that enabled the students to transcend their disciplinary barriers, and to better understand the perspectives and contributions that other team members bring to patient care. Evaluation findings suggest that meaningful interprofessional education can be introduced effectively to students either prior to or while they are maturing in their professional roles.
As a component of palliative care educational program development, the faculty at the University of Ottawa Institute of Palliative Care wished to assess end-of-life care for patients in long-term care (LTC) settings to develop an educational strategy for physicians.
A chart audit, focusing on the last 48 hours of life of residents dying in LTC facilities.
Five LTC facilities in a city in Canada.
Residents who died in the LTC facilities in a 12-month period. Those who died suddenly (i.e., with no palliation period) or in a hospital were excluded.
Symptoms highlighted in the literature as commonly found in the terminally ill and the matching treatments were recorded on an audit form created by the authors. Included were pain, dyspnea, noisy breathing, delirium, dysphagia, fever, and myoclonus.
One hundred eighty-five charts were reviewed. A large number of patients were cognitively impaired. Cancer was the final diagnosis in 14% of cases. Respiratory symptoms were the most prevalent symptom, with dyspnea being first and noisy breathing third. Pain was second, with a prevalence similar to that found in studies of cancer patients. Dyspnea was not treated in 23% of the patients with this symptom; opioids were used in only 27% of cases with dyspnea. Ninety-nine percent of patients who experienced pain were treated for it. Less than one-third of patients with noisy breathing were treated. Delirium was not treated in 38% of the cases, and no anti-dopaminergic medications were administered. Nurses were primarily responsible for documenting end-of-life issues, supporting the families of the dying residents, and communicating with other team members.
The focused chart audit identified the high prevalence of cognitive impairment in the patient population, which complicates symptom management. Respiratory symptoms predominated in the last 48 hours of life. This symptom profile differs from that of cancer patients, who, according to the literature, have more pain and less respiratory trouble. Management of symptoms was variable. Nurses played a crucial role in the care of dying residents through their documentation and communication of end-of-life issues. Appropriate palliative care education can provide knowledge and skills to all health-care professionals, including physicians, and assist them in the control of symptoms and improvement of quality of life for patients dying in LTC facilities.
Maximizing interprofessional collaborative patient-centred practice holds promise for improving patient care and creating satisfying work roles. In Canada's evolving health care system, there are demands for increased efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and quality improvement. Interprofessional collaboration warrants re-examination because maximizing interprofessional collaboration, especially nurse-physician collaboration, holds promise for improving patient care and creating satisfying work roles. A palliative care team seized the opportunity to pilot a different approach to patient and family care when faced with a reduction in medical staff. Grounded in a collaborative patient-centred practice approach, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association's National Model to Guide Hospice Palliative Care (2002), and outcomes from program retreats and workgroups, a collaborative person-centred model of care was developed for a 12-bed pilot project. Preliminary findings show that the pilot project team perceived some specific benefits in continuity of care and interprofessional collaboration, while the presence of the physician was reduced to an average of 3.82 hours on the pilot wing, compared with 8 hours on the non-pilot wings. This pilot study suggests that a person-centred model, when focused on the physician-nurse dyad, may offer improved efficiency, job satisfaction and continuity of care on a palliative care unit. Incorporating all team members and developing strategies to successfully expand the model across the whole unit are the next challenges. Further research into the impact of these changes on the health care professionals, management and patients and families is essential.