Media Watch 531

Attached is the current edition of Media Watch (#531).

Of special interest:

The effect of communication skills training for generalist palliative care providers on patient-reported outcomes and clinician behaviors: A systematic review and meta-analysis

JOURNAL OF PAIN & SYMPTOM MANAGEMENT, 2017;54(3):404-416. This systematic review is the first to comprehensively examine the effectiveness of end-of-life care (EoLC) communication skills training interventions for generalist palliative care providers. Evidence regarding the impact of EoLC communication skills training on patient-reported outcomes was inconclusive. Training interventions do appear to be effective at improving physicians’ ability to show empathy and discuss emotions. However, the effects of training on clinicians’ behaviors during simulated interactions are not reflected in their behaviors when interacting with real patients, with no effect found in the latter. Although in most cases this finding was across different studies using different measures, this pattern is present in the work by Liénard et al and Delvaux et al in which the same measures were administered to the same participants in both simulated and real patient interactions. Measurement during simulated interactions might overestimate clinicians’ skills, or skill levels during interactions with real patients might be more difficult to change or measure.

Distress due to prognostic uncertainty in palliative care: Frequency, distribution, and outcomes among hospitalized patients with advanced cancer

JOURNAL OF PALLIATIVE MEDICINE | Online – 18 September 2017 – The authors describe the prevalence and distribution of distress due to prognostic uncertainty among hospitalized patients with advanced cancer before palliative care (PC) consultation. They evaluate the association between this type of distress and overall quality of life (QoL) before and after PC consultation. Two hundred thirty-six participants completed the baseline assessment. Seventy-seven percent reported being at least moderately bothered by prognostic uncertainty and half reported substantial distress. Compared with others, those who were distressed by prognostic uncertainty reported poorer overall QoL before PC consultation and greater improvement in QoL following consultation.