Evaluation of the recent initiative sponsored by the AMS to develop physician-led, interdisciplinary models of excellence in EOL care in academic teaching hospitals in Ontario, with the aim of improving EOL care provided to patients and their families in the acute care setting.
Most Canadians die in hospital while under the care of various medical specialists. Physician competency in end-of-life care is an essential clinical skill to be taught in residency programs. Internal medicine residents at five universities across Canada participated in a self-administered survey designed to assess their knowledge in end-of-life care, perceived strengths and weaknesses, learning priorities, and attitudes towards the provision of care to hospitalized dying patients. We learned that these residents have significant exposure to dying patients but experience substantial emotional distress related to the provision of end-of-life care. Palliative care service rotations have positive effects on their self-perceived competence. Comparison of residents' perceived competencies to their learning priorities will be extremely useful in guiding strategies for meaningful end-of-life educational experiences.