Incorporating Bereaved Parents as Faculty Facilitators and Educators in Teaching Principles of Palliative and End-of-Life Care


BACKGROUND:: Education and training for interdisciplinary pediatric providers requires training in principles of palliative and end-of-life (EOL) care. The experiences of bereaved parents can inform and enhance palliative care educational curricula in uniquely powerful and valuable ways. The objective of this study is to present an innovative palliative care educational program facilitated by trained bereaved parents who serve as volunteer educators in local and national palliative care educational forums and to describe how incorporation of bereaved parents in these educational forums affects participant comfort with communication and management of children at the EOL. METHODS:: Parent educators underwent both general and session-specific training and participated in debriefings following each session. Survey tools were developed or adapted to determine how bereaved parent educators affected participant experiences in 3 different educational forums. Pre- and postsession surveys with incorporation of retrospective preprogram assessment items to control for response shift were used in the evaluation of institutional seminars on pediatric palliative and EOL care and role-play-based communication training sessions. Results from feedback surveys sent to attendees were used to appraise the participants' experience at the international oncology symposium. RESULTS:: Involvement of trained parent educators across diverse, interdisciplinary educational forums improved attendee comfort in communicating with, and caring for, patients and families with serious illness. Importantly, parent educators also derive benefit from involvement in educational sessions with interdisciplinary clinicians. CONCLUSIONS:: Integration of bereaved parents into palliative and EOL care education is an innovative and effective model that benefits both interdisciplinary clinicians and bereaved parents.

Publication Title

The American journal of hospice & palliative care