The Critical Care Communication project: Improving fellows' communication skills☆,☆☆

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Abstract

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to develop an evidence-based communication skills training workshop to improve the communication skills of critical care fellows.

Materials and methods:

Pulmonary and critical care fellows (N = 38) participated in a 3-day communication skills workshop between 2008 and 2010 involving brief didactic talks, faculty demonstration of skills, and faculty-supervised small group skills practice sessions with simulated families. Skills included the following: giving bad news, achieving consensus on goals of therapy, and discussing the limitations of life-sustaining treatment. Participants rated their skill levels in a pre-post survey in 11 core communication tasks using a 5-point Likert scale.

Results:

Of 38 fellows, 36 (95%) completed all 3 days of the workshop. We compared pre and post scores using the Wilcoxon signed rank test. Overall, self-rated skills increased for all 11 tasks. In analyses by participant, 95% reported improvement in at least 1 skill; with improvement in a median of 10 of 11 skills. Ninety-two percent rated the course as either very good/excellent, and 80% recommended that it be mandatory for future fellows.

Conclusions:

This 3-day communication skills training program increased critical care fellows' self-reported family meeting communication skills.

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