End of life simulation to improve interprofessional competencies: A mixed methods study

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Background: The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education “Standards 2016” require that pharmacy student education include training in the management of patients “across the lifespan” (Standard 12). Standards 2016 also require that students are practice-ready to participate as a contributing member of an interprofessional (IP) team (Standard 11). Didactic and experiential education in palliative or end-of-life (EOL) care is limited. Palliative care represents unique patient and team challenges in providing patients with empathetic and holistic care. Interprofessional education activity: This study describes an IP, palliative care simulation that achieved both IP and “across the lifespan” educational standards. The goals of the activity included increasing communication skills, recognizing roles and responsibilities, and enhancing the value of various healthcare providers' perspectives and expertise when caring for patients at the EOL. Pharmacy, physical therapy, nursing, and counseling students participated in a low fidelity palliative care simulation. The event consisted of a presentation on anticipatory grief and active listening followed by a role-playing simulation and group debrief. The Interprofessional Socialization and Value Scale were administered to assess student perceptions of IP skills. Discussion: Quantitative and qualitative data demonstrated achievement of the goals of the activity. Reflections revealed students felt the simulation improved teamwork and communication skills and that using humility and listening in team-based palliative care transformed wisdom for future practice. Implications: This activity used a cost-effective, low fidelity, role-play simulation to achieve IP education competencies and demonstrated the value of multiple professions in EOL care.

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