Is it possible to improve residents breaking bad news skills? A randomised study assessing the efficacy of a communication skills training program.

PubMed source: Is it possible to improve residents breaking bad news skills? A randomised study assessing the efficacy of a communication skills training program.

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Is it possible to improve residents breaking bad news skills? A randomised study assessing the efficacy of a communication skills training program.

Br J Cancer. 2010 Jul 13;103(2):171-7

Authors: Liénard A, Merckaert I, Libert Y, Bragard I, Delvaux N, Etienne AM, Marchal S, Meunier J, Reynaert C, Slachmuylder JL, Razavi D

BACKGROUND: This study aims to assess the efficacy of a 40-h training programme designed to teach residents the communication skills needed to break the bad news. METHODS: Residents were randomly assigned to the training programme or to a waiting list. A simulated patient breaking bad news (BBN) consultation was audiotaped at baseline and after training in the training group and 8 months after baseline in the waiting-list group. Transcripts were analysed by tagging the used communication skills with a content analysis software (LaComm) and by tagging the phases of bad news delivery: pre-delivery, delivery and post-delivery. Training effects were tested with generalised estimating equation (GEE) and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). RESULTS: The trained residents (n=50) used effective communication skills more often than the untrained residents (n=48): more open questions (relative rate (RR)=5.79; P<0.001), open directive questions (RR=1.71; P=0.003) and empathy (RR=4.50; P=0.017) and less information transmission (RR=0.72; P=0.001). The pre-delivery phase was longer for the trained (1 min 53 s at baseline and 3 min 55 s after training) compared with the untrained residents (2 min 7 s at baseline and 1 min 46 s at second assessment time; P<0.001). CONCLUSION: This study shows the efficacy of training programme designed to improve residents' BBN skills. The way residents break bad news may thus be improved.

PMID: 20628395 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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