Introduction: Advanced care planning (ACP) and Goals of Care (GOC) discussions are becoming increasingly common in our emergency departments (ED). The national ACP task group has found that the majority of Canadians have not had prior ACP/GOC discussions, nor have they obtained proper documentation of their wishes. The task of having these difficult but important conversations falls frequently to the ED. Despite this, our emergency medicine (EM) residents receive little formal training in ACP discussions. To address this need, we developed and implemented a workshop in ACP/GOC conversations for the University of Alberta EM academic curriculum. Methods: A literature search was performed to identify best practices for ACP discussions in the ED, barriers to ACP in the ED, and tools for identifying ED patients appropriate for ACP. Experts in ACP/palliative care and staff ED physicians were asked to identify previous difficult ACP discussions and highlight aspects of these cases that were challenging in the ED environment. These experiences, best practices and published APC curricula informed the development of a 3-hour case-based workshop that was implemented in the 2016/17 academic year for EM staff and residents. Results: Cases utilized in the workshop emphasized common ACP/GOC situations that occur in the emergency department: Case 1: An 84 year old with C1 GOC whose family did not accept the GOC designation. Case 2: A 72 year old with multiple comorbidities arriving intubated with no GOC documented. Case 3: An 82 year old with decreased LOC whose family asks for an ACP discussion in the ED. Participants were divided into groups (5-6 members). Each small group analyzed and discussed each case before the participants reconvened and discussed their opinions in one large group. ACP experts from palliative care, emergency medical services and EM facilitated the discussions highlighting the best practices from the literature for each case reviewed. Pre and post Likert surveys were distributed to workshop participants to assess changes in confidence in a variety of domains. A Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test showed statistically significant improvement in learner confidence within the following areas (N=21; P<0.05): identifying patients appropriate for GOC discussions, initiating GOC discussions, and identifying barriers to GOC, in the ED. The majority (89%) of participants agreed the workshops should become part of our academic curriculum. Conclusion: An ACP/GOC workshop was successfully implemented and further ACP/GOC sessions are planned for the upcoming academic year. Looking ahead, we will look at using other teaching modalities such as simulation to further enhance the delivery of the curriculum. We will also attempt to capture defined physician behaviors (e.g. documenting GOC in the ED chart, sending letters to family physicians documenting GOC discussions) to gauge uptake of the workshop principles into clinical practice.
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