‘That’s someone’s grandma’: Teaching person-centred care in a frailty context

Link to article at PubMed

Clin Teach. 2023 Oct 12:e13627. doi: 10.1111/tct.13627. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The ability to provide person-centred care (PCC) is an essential skill for doctors and requires therapeutic empathy. We sought to evaluate a novel teaching approach to understand how medical students' personal reflections on an older person impact their views about PCC and frailty.

APPROACH: We designed a teaching session where students prepared an image and story about an older person they knew. Given the innovative nature of this, we set it in the context of a Plan Do Study Act cycle to ensure evaluation and continuous improvement at each stage. Students' contributions were discussed in a supportive environment, weaving together stories about individuals with the impacts of ageing they experienced. We evaluated the teaching with a pre- and post-session 'frailty' word cloud and an online focus group.

EVALUATION: Word cloud analysis showed a shift in the words students used when considering 'frailty', from words associated with illness and vulnerability to those associated with character and experience. Focus group themes supported these findings. Students expressed a change in their perception of frailty to consider 'the person behind the patient', which, unexpectedly, led to them also seeing 'the person behind the medical student'. The session stimulated student reflection on challenges that may impact on delivery of truly person-centred care.

IMPLICATIONS: This flexible teaching technique was an effective stimulus for medical students to consider the person behind the patient. Future work could consider how to promote retention of empathy as medical students make the transition to working as a doctor.

PMID:37823435 | DOI:10.1111/tct.13627

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