School of Medicine and Health Sciences Poster Presentations

Title

Integrative Medicine (IM) Providers’ Perceptions of Palliative Care Conversations - A Collaboration between Integrative Medicine for the Underserved (IM4US) and Palliative Care

Document Type

Poster

Abstract Category

Education/Health Services

Keywords

Integrative medicine, medical education, palliative care

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2019

Abstract

IM providers treat patients of all ages, at all stages of life. Many IM modalities are well-suited to end-of-life (EOL) care; however, IM providers' comfort with EOL conversations and the adequacy of their training for EOL conversations is unknown. Our goals were to determine 1) how comfortable providers feel talking to patients about EOL issues, 2) how effective providers felt that their formal education was at teaching this skill, and 3) providers’ perceptions of the importance of this skill in their fields. We surveyed 29 IM providers in an IRB-exempt study at the June 2018 IM4US conference in Washington, DC. Most respondents (64%) reported that they are comfortable talking to patients about EOL issues. 70% of respondents felt comfortable modifying their goals from cure-focused to care-focused. However, just 36% of respondents felt that their formal education had been effective at teaching these skills. 93% responded that it is important for practitioners in their fields to skillfully talk to their patients about EOL issues. Despite providers’ perceptions of inadequate formal training in conducting EOL conversations with their patients, the majority of providers responded that they are at least somewhat comfortable in discussing EOL and comfort-focused care with their patients. The majority recognized the importance of conducting EOL discussions skillfully with their patients but only one-third of practitioners felt they had sufficient training. Because the vast majority of IM providers acknowledge the importance of skillful EOL discussions, further research is required to determine the best way to integrate EOL education into IM curricula and whether formal education can effectively teach these skills, so that more IM providers are comfortable with EOL discussions and goal setting in their life-limited patients.

Open Access

1

Comments

Presented at Research Days 2019.

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Integrative Medicine (IM) Providers’ Perceptions of Palliative Care Conversations - A Collaboration between Integrative Medicine for the Underserved (IM4US) and Palliative Care

IM providers treat patients of all ages, at all stages of life. Many IM modalities are well-suited to end-of-life (EOL) care; however, IM providers' comfort with EOL conversations and the adequacy of their training for EOL conversations is unknown. Our goals were to determine 1) how comfortable providers feel talking to patients about EOL issues, 2) how effective providers felt that their formal education was at teaching this skill, and 3) providers’ perceptions of the importance of this skill in their fields. We surveyed 29 IM providers in an IRB-exempt study at the June 2018 IM4US conference in Washington, DC. Most respondents (64%) reported that they are comfortable talking to patients about EOL issues. 70% of respondents felt comfortable modifying their goals from cure-focused to care-focused. However, just 36% of respondents felt that their formal education had been effective at teaching these skills. 93% responded that it is important for practitioners in their fields to skillfully talk to their patients about EOL issues. Despite providers’ perceptions of inadequate formal training in conducting EOL conversations with their patients, the majority of providers responded that they are at least somewhat comfortable in discussing EOL and comfort-focused care with their patients. The majority recognized the importance of conducting EOL discussions skillfully with their patients but only one-third of practitioners felt they had sufficient training. Because the vast majority of IM providers acknowledge the importance of skillful EOL discussions, further research is required to determine the best way to integrate EOL education into IM curricula and whether formal education can effectively teach these skills, so that more IM providers are comfortable with EOL discussions and goal setting in their life-limited patients.