Ideally, physicians and patients should discuss patient preferences for life-sustaining treatment before the onset of cognitive impairment or a life-threatening illness; however, these conversations often do not occur. We developed an educational program in which residents practiced discussing advance directives with volunteer simulated outpatients and then received feedback from the patient, an observing resident, and a faculty member. Residents found the training sessions to be realistic, relevant, and useful. Resident self-ratings improved significantly on eight items representing knowledge, skills, and attitudes about discussing advance directives with patients. Resident learning occurred in four major areas: technical knowledge about advance directives; introducing the topic to patients; giving patients information; and eliciting patients' values and feelings. We conclude that residents need and want training in this area and that simulated patients act as a catalyst for their learning.
(Arch Intern Med. 1991;151:567-570)
Gordon GH, Tolle SW. Discussing Life-Sustaining Treatment: A Teaching Program for Residents. Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(3):567–570. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400030105019
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