Development of a simulation-based mastery learning curriculum for late goals of care discussions


Introduction:Fellows in critical care medicine (CCM) routinely help patients and families navigate complex decisions near the end of life. These "late goals of care" (LGOC) discussions require rigorous skills training and impact patient care. Innovation is needed to ensure that fellow training in leading these discussions is centered on reproducible competency-based standards. The aims of this study were to 1) describe the development of a simulation-based mastery learning (SBML) curriculum for LGOC discussions and 2) set a defensible minimum passing standard (MPS) to ensure uniform skill acquisition among learners.

Innovation:We developed an SBML curriculum for CCM fellows structured around REMAP, a mnemonic outlining foundational components of effective communication around serious illness. A multidisciplinary expert panel iteratively created a LGOC discussion assessment tool. Pilot testing was completed to refine the checklist, set the MPS, and assess skill acquisition.

Outcomes:The LGOC discussion assessment tool included an 18-item checklist and 6 scaled items. The tool produced reliable data (k ≥ 0.7 and ICC of ≥ 0.7). Using the Mastery Angoff method, the panel set the MPS at 87%. Ten CCM fellows participated in the pilot study. Performance on the checklist significantly improved from a median score of 52% (IQR 44% - 72%) at pretest to 96% (IQR 82% - 97%) at posttest (p=0.005). The number of learners who met the MPS similarly improved from 10% during pre-testing to 70% during post-testing (P=0.02).

Comment:We describe the development of a LGOC SBML curriculum for CCM fellows which includes a robust communication skills assessment and the delineation of a defensible MPS.

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