Is it possible to improve the breaking bad news skills of residents when a relative is present? A randomised study.
Br J Cancer. 2013 Nov 12;109(10):2507-14
Authors: Merckaert I, Liénard A, Libert Y, Bragard I, Delvaux N, Etienne AM, Marchal S, Meunier J, Reynaert C, Slachmuylder JL, Razavi D
BACKGROUND: Although patients with cancer are often accompanied by a relative during breaking bad news (BBN) consultations, little is known regarding the efficacy of training programmes designed to teach residents the communication skills needed to break bad news in a triadic consultation.
METHODS: Residents were randomly assigned to a 40-h dyadic and triadic communication skills training programme (n=48) or a waiting list (n=47). A simulated BBN triadic consultation was audiotaped at baseline, and after training for the training group, and 8 months after baseline for the waiting list group. Transcripts were analysed using content analysis software (LaComm). A coder determined the moment of bad news delivery and the relative's first turn of speech regarding the bad news. A generalised estimating equation was used to evaluate residents' communication skills, BBN timing, and the relative's inclusion in the consultation.
RESULTS: Ninety-five residents were included. After training, the duration of the pre-delivery phase was found to be longer for the trained residents (relative risk (RR)=3.04; P<0.001). The simulated relative's first turn of speech about the bad news came more often during the pre-delivery phase (RR=6.68; P=0.008), and was more often initiated by the trained residents (RR=19.17; P<0.001). Trained residents also used more assessment (RR=1.83; P<0.001) and supportive utterances (RR=1.58; P<0.001).
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that a training programme that focuses on the practice of dyadic and triadic communication skills can improve the communication skills of the participating residents in a BBN triadic consultation. Such a training should be included in resident curriculum.
PMID: 24129243 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]