The PULSES project: Teaching the vital elements of code status discussions to oncology residents. Conference Paper uri icon

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abstract

  • 46 Background: Discussions with cancer patients around cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or ‘code status,’ are often led by trainees in oncology, but formal education for this competency is lacking. In this study, we developed and tested a novel communication tool, the PULSES framework, for informed code status decision-making (a six-step approach summarized by the PULSES acronym [see Table]), through an educational workshop. Methods: A multicentre randomized controlled trial was carried out at 3 academic cancer centres in Ontario, Canada. Residents in medical oncology (MO) and radiation oncology (RO) programs completed a workshop and an observed structured clinical exam (OSCE). Participants were randomized to complete the training before the OSCE (experimental arm) or after the OSCE (control arm). Randomization was stratified for centre and oncology discipline. Expert raters evaluated communication with two rating tools: the novel PULSES scale and the communication skills assessment form (CSAF), a validated benchmark tool that is not specific to oncology content. The primary outcome was improvement in PULSES scores. Results: Forty-six residents consented to participate (28 RO and 18 MO). Groups were well balanced for program and year of training. Participants in the experimental group had higher mean PULSES score than those in the control group (80.4±13.5 vs 63.4±9.7; p<.001; maximum score = 108). There was no significant effect for oncology program and no significant interaction between program and training condition. Scores from the PULSES and CSAF scales were highly correlated (R = 0.864). Conclusions: The PULSES training improved performance among oncology residents for code status discussions. Improved communication scores were not scale-specific. The PULSES framework offers a standardized approach and can be incorporated into competency-based curricula for postgraduate oncology programs. Future work will explore whether communication training in this area impacts patient-level outcomes. [Table: see text]

publication date

  • November 1, 2017