Original Article

Facilitating the Advance Care Planning Conversation with Patients: An Interactive Virtual 1.5-Hour Session

Authors: Suzanne Minor, MD, Marquita Samuels, MBA, Sanaz Kashan, MD, Marcos Milanez, MD, Jorge Camilo Mora, MD


Objectives: The Liaison Committee on Medical Education requires that the curriculum of medical schools includes end-of-life care. Most medical students feel reluctant to discuss end-of-life issues with their patients, but would like to learn more.

Methods: We created an educational session on using Five Wishes to facilitate the advance care planning conversation. Third- and fourth-year students were given a brief PowerPoint lecture detailing the importance of advance directives, barriers to advance care planning conversations, approaches for the conversation, and two brief video sample conversations. Students discussed their experiences related to advance directives and role-played a part of an advance care planning conversation.

Results: A total of 97 medical students participated in the didactic on advance care planning conversations from May 4, 2020 to October 24, 2020. Eighty-six (88.7%) of 97 students responded to the postcourse evaluation survey. Most of the respondents (96%) agreed or strongly agreed that the session was pertinent to learning needs and that the goals and objectives of the session were met. Ninety-two percent of respondents felt confident about having a conversation with a patient about advance directives and 88% of respondents felt comfortable starting and completing advance directives conversations.

Conclusions: The brief didactic presented here on facilitating advance directives conversations constitutes an easily implemented and well-received session for medical students. Students reported high levels of confidence and comfort around having advance directive conversations after participating in this didactic session.

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