This article presents recommendations for improving the education of physicians about end-of-life care in the acute care hospital setting. The authors, who have a variety of backgrounds and represent several types of institutions, formulated and reached consensus on these recommendations as members of the Acute Care Hospital Working Group, one of eight working groups convened at the National Consensus Conference on Medical Education for Care Near the End of Life in May 1997. A recently published literature review on the status of palliative care education, a summary of recent research on education about end-of-life care, and expert opinion were helpful in developing the recommendations. The authors emphasize that the acute care setting offers many opportunities for education about care at the end of life. Faculty should support learners' appreciation of the importance of end-of-life care, and convey the meaning and privilege of attending to patients and families at this difficult time. Faculty should teach students and residents to provide care that embodies attention to the control of distressing physical, physiologic, and spiritual symptoms, appropriate awareness of patients' differing cultural backgrounds and their impact upon the experience of dying, excellent communication skills, the application of bioethical principles, timely referral and smooth transition to other care settings that meet patient and family goals, and the role of the interdisciplinary team in meeting the diverse needs of dying patients and their families.
Created Date: 21 October 1999; Completed Date: 21 October 1999; Revised Date: 18 December 2000
© 1999 Association of American Medical Colleges