Healthcare communication – A network for our region

Palliverse was lucky enough to be present for the excellent Teaching communication in Healthcare conference in Melbourne hosted by the Cancer Council Victoria last December.  At this conference multiple members of the European Association of Healthcare Communication including Jonathan Silverman and current president Evelyn Van Weel -Baumgarten joined local representatives of EACH Peter Martin and Megan Chiswell.
healthcomms
During the event the key message was of the importance of communication skills to be able to provide care that is patient-centred, empathetic, safe, ethical, efficient and high-quality.  Unlike many other clinical skills communication is also largely universal in that it is practiced by clinicians in all encounters.  Supporting communication skills education is therefore a critical way of improving the quality of care provided by our healthcare system.

Continue reading

Planning care for people with dementia

CjRDzR9UUAQ9woR.jpg-large

Two new resources are now available to help with planning care for people with dementia. Palliverse talked to driving force Prof Meera Agar about the ‘whys’, ‘hows’ and ‘whats’.

Q: Why develop care planning resources just for dementia?

A: People with dementia face unique challenges and decisions related to their care and health care needs as their illness progresses; and supporting their choices is made more complex as they become less able to communicate their needs and articulate decisions about what they want from care. While good intentioned, many health professionals in aged care and other settings may not understand the course of dementia, and there may not always be good communication, involving the person with dementia whenever possible and their families,  and also between the different health professional involved in the persons care.

Q: So how do the new resources help?

A: The two new resources are a website offering practical support for family case conferencing and a report providing guidance on critical recommendations to improve advance care planning. Continue reading

I think therefore I am? – Connecting?

Heart Connection (by Alisa Looney)

Heart Connection by Alisa Looney. Photo by Nancy Regan, taken in Puyallup, Washington, used under Creative Commons licence.

Talking to patients can be challenging, and it can be a struggle to make a connection sometimes. You need to have a plan as to how you are going to play the interaction game, and  it can feel like a particularly demanding game of chess at times. You may have to pick your words carefully, as not everyone is naturally trusting, especially towards someone that they have never met before i.e. a total stranger. What worked on patient A in room 2 may fail dismally with patient C in room 5. Everyone is different as are their responses to your attempts to make a connection. That is what it is all about, through use of all the communication skills that you have learnt, you try to make a connection with another person. How can I ‘click’ with the other person in order for us to have important conversations?

Continue reading

Elsewhere in the Palliverse – Weekend Reads

photo by David Mao itsdavo

I hope you enjoy this week’s reads, which include topics like wills, funerals, dementia, research ethics and the experience of a hospice nurse who becomes carer for her mother. I hope there’s no typos – I’m rushing off to a communication skills workshop but wanted to post this before I leave.

As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Continue reading

Vital talk – resources for improving your communication skills

Have picked up some great tips from these guys when I have seen them at palliative conferences.

Communication skills are something that you can always improve, even if you have been in the field for a long time!

The site offers videos with examples of communication skills and also cheat sheets of suggestions on how to structure difficult conversations.

Do you find them useful?

http://www.vitaltalk.org/clinicians

What’s new in research?

Trial published in JCO suggests even experienced clinicians benefit from communication skills training… AND so do their patients!

A study by Fujimori and colleagues examined the effects of a person-centred communication skills training program for 30 oncologists who were randomised to either receive the training or not. A total of 1,192 patients who had consultations with participating oncologists reported their psychological distress, satisfaction, and trust in the oncologist. In addition, oncologists were objectively assessed on their performance and confidence in communication using simulated, videotaped consultations. Those oncologists who received the training improved on several communication outcomes. While the training did not significantly impact patient’s satisfaction with their oncologist, patients reported greater trust in their oncologist and less depression. Results suggest experienced clinicians (9.3 – 30.3 years of practice) can benefit from communication skills training, and accordingly, so do their patients.

Have a read: http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2014/06/09/JCO.2013.51.2756.abstract

Study reference: Fujimori M, Shirai Y, Asai M, Kubota K, Katsumata N, Uchitomi Y. The effect of communication skills training program for oncologists based on patient preferences for communication when receiving bad news: A randomized controlled trial. J Clin Oncol 2014, June 9 [Epub ahead of print]