Primary Palliative Care Education: A Pilot Survey

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The demand for palliative services is outpacing the availability of specialist palliative care clinicians. One strategy to fill this gap is to improve “primary palliative care” skills and knowledge of all clinicians who care for seriously ill patients. Previous educational efforts have shown mixed results, and one possible explanation is unrecognized discordance of educational goals between those offering education and potential primary palliative care learners. The article describes the results and feasibility of a needs assessment survey comparing interest in palliative care education topics and settings among both palliative care specialists (PCS) and nonpalliative care specialists (NPCS). This is the first attempt to measure the perceived importance of primary palliative care topics and preferences about learning settings from the perspectives of both NPCS and PCS. The results suggest substantial areas of both concordant and discordant opinions with respect to educational topics and learning settings. Such data are essential to guide primary palliative care educational efforts. Future work will be needed to determine whether these results are consistent across diverse health systems and what variables influence educational preferences.

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