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 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.
- When Doctors Don’t Talk To Doctors. This happens far too often. (New York Times)
- Two recent pieces by Australian oncologist and writer Ranjana Srivastava: Happiness and the art of care and conversation on the cancer ward (The Conversation) and Dr Google is here to stay – and here to help (The Guardian). The latter made me think of patient advocate Jen Morris’ advice to doctors – if you tell a patient not to Google their condition, they’re likely to take that as a challenge.
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?
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.
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]