To identify sources of distress experienced by trainees when providing neuropalliative care and to explore the perceived and unperceived educational needs of trainees learning to deliver neuropalliative care.
This study is a post hoc analysis of a qualitative investigation performed at a single Canadian academic center with active clinical services in palliative medicine, neurology, and neurosurgery. Grounded theory methodology was used to explore trainees’ perspectives when learning neuropalliative care. This study used focus groups, using open-ended questions, to elicit participants’ experiences providing neuropalliative care as well as to explore the challenges in neuropalliative care.
Qualitative analysis identified multiple sources of distress for trainees in neuropalliative care and broad themes emerged: 1) a
lack of experience and knowledge, 2) the emotional tollof learning neuropalliative care, and 3) prognostic uncertaintyin neuropalliative care. Conclusion:
Our results suggest that palliative neurology curricula should focus not only on symptom management but also on strategies for improving communication about prognosis and managing clinical uncertainty. Improving trainee comfort and confidence in neuropalliative care throughout the illness trajectory may alleviate sources of distress during training and increase quality of care.