Are family medicine residents adequately trained to deliver palliative care? Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To explore educational factors that influence family medicine residents' (FMRs') intentions to offer palliative care and palliative care home visits to patients. DESIGN: Qualitative descriptive study. SETTING: A Canadian, urban, specialized palliative care centre. PARTICIPANTS: First-year (n = 9) and second-year (n = 6) FMRs. METHODS: Semistructured interviews were conducted with FMRs following a 4-week palliative care rotation. Questions focused on participant experiences during the rotation and perceptions about their roles as family physicians in the delivery of palliative care and home visits. Participant responses were analyzed to summarize and interpret patterns related to their educational experience during their rotation. MAIN FINDINGS: Four interrelated themes were identified that described this experience: foundational skill development owing to training in a specialized setting; additional need for education and support; unaddressed gaps in pragmatic skills; and uncertainty about family physicians' role in palliative care. CONCLUSION: Residents described experiences that both supported and inadvertently discouraged them from considering future engagement in palliative care. Reassuringly, residents were also able to underscore opportunities for improvement in palliative care education.


  • Mahtani, Ramona
  • Kurahashi, Allison M
  • Buchman, Sandy
  • Webster, Fiona
  • Husain, Amna
  • Goldman, Russell

publication date

  • December 2015