• Testing real talk: an adaptable evidence-based communication skills intervention in end of life talk

      Watson, Sharan; Whittaker, Becky; Parry, Ruth; University of Derby; Loughborough University (BMJ Journals, 2019-11-17)
      Background Gaps in practice knowledge exist in initiating and navigating through difficult conversations; these new resources provide impactful, evidenced based learning opportunities in developing competence/confidence in engaging patients in end of life talk. Analysis of filmed data of patient consultations at a UK hospice provides the materials for ‘Real Talk’; a novel and flexible education intervention containing real-life video clips. Communication skills training is more likely to be effective in changing behaviours when it is experiential and interactive, being relevant to trainees’ practice. Aim Real Talk interventions were tested out to determine ongoing development of communication skills training for the health and social care workforce. Experienced palliative care doctors attended a three-day facilitated residential workshop in which they explored the Real Talk. Discussions linked to the evidence of communication strategies, reflective diaries and action planning provided opportunity for linking learning to their clinical and educator roles. 29 experienced palliative care doctors attended the workshop who completed a pre/post questionnaire (adapted from a validated tool) and reflective diaries. Delegates identified the most effective aspects of learning as: experiential small group work relating to Real Talk video clips, critiquing underpinning evidence of how clinicians navigate conversations in end of life care and the opportunity to reflect on learning and application to practice in a safe and stimulating environment Engagement and results of the workshop have provided a foundation on which to build flexible communication skills training beyond the hospice setting, in engaging patients in end of life talk. Providing interactive experiential learning, embedded in the evidence base underpinning Real Talk, is crucial for health and social care professionals to develop skills in communicating with patients facing the end of life. The launch of the online Real Talk resources is now recommending that this adaptable approach be skilfully facilitated in safe environments for enhancing skilled practice in end of life care.