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Evaluation of a blended training programme for professionals in hospital-based palliative care.

Noordman, J., Roodbeen, R., Gach, L., Schulze, L., Muijsenbergh, M. van den, Boland, G., Dulmen, S. van. Evaluation of a blended training programme for professionals in hospital-based palliative care. Patient Education and Counseling: 2023, 109(Suppl. S.), p. 72. Meeting abstract

The non-curative setting makes communication and shared decision-making (SDM) in palliative care extremely challenging. This is even more so for patients with limited health literacy (LHL). So far, research in palliative care focusing on SDM with LHL patients is lacking. Recent research from our team indicates that the assessment of LHL patients’ understanding of their situation and the implementation of SDM in palliative care, needs improvement.

To improve communication and decision-making, especially with LHL patients, we developed and evaluated a blended training programme for HCPs. The training programme comprised of an e-learning and a team training. The evaluation was executed by conducting interviews (n=15) and coding video-recorded outpatient consultations (n=39). The interviews with participating HCPs focused on evaluating the whole programme. The extent to which HCPs involved patients in decision-making during their recorded consultations was measured using the OPTION5 instrument, before and after the intervention.

The interviews showed that HCPs valued the skills they had learned during the e-learning and team training. HCPs specifically valued the teach-back technique and felt better able to recognize LHL patients. A small number of HCPs reported a change in communication behaviour as a consequence of the training programme. Wishes for both e-learning and training were a.o. a follow-up team training course, a tips and tricks overview and new scenarios for the e-learning. For both the pre- and the post-measurement, the extent to which HCPs involve patients in SDM in practice lies between a minimal and a moderate effort. However, the mean SDM score at post-measurement is slightly higher.

The e-learning and team training were valued by HCPs. Adaptations to the e-learning have been made after evaluation. The e-learning is implemented in several hospitals and in medical education. To improve actual SDM in practice a more sustained effort is needed.