Developing the Future End-of-Life Health Care Workforce: Lessons Learned From a Survey of Advanced Health Professions Students

Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2021 Jul 28:10499091211035711. doi: 10.1177/10499091211035711. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: To examine health professions trainees’ end-of-life (EOL) care knowledge, attitudes, and intentions.

METHODS: IRB-approved online survey of 346 students/5 universities in final training years-public health, pharmacy, physician, physician assistant, occupational therapy, and physical therapy (April-May 2016). Queried knowledge, attitudes, and intentions toward EOL care.

RESULTS: Sufficient knowledge of palliative care was reported by 25% while sufficient knowledge of advance care planning (ACP) was 17%. Ninety-six percent thought it important to discuss EOL issues in training; 92% believed their professions played important roles in EOL care. Managing pain was chosen as the best example of palliative care by 93.6% and designating healthcare proxies was reported as the best example of ACP (5.8%). Pharmacy, public health, and rehabilitation therapy students were less likely than physician and physician assistant trainees to report intent to work in EOL care. Among those who want to work in EOL care, 65% reported having clinical experience with seriously ill or dying patients/clients. We discuss other findings related to perceptions of didactic preparation in palliative care, palliative care knowledge access/function, death/dying attitudes, and intentions toward seriously illness care.

DISCUSSION: There is interest in and knowledge of palliative care, including EOL care, among multiple health professions. Provides guidance for how we train health professionals to improve population health by optimizing EOL care.

PMID:34318688 | DOI:10.1177/10499091211035711

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