Survey evaluations of University of British Columbia residents’ education and attitudes regarding palliative care and physician assisted death

  • David Spicer Internal Medicine Residency Program, University of British Columbia
  • Sonia Paul Family Medicine Residency Program, University of British Columbia
  • Tom Tang Family Medicine Residency Program, University of British Columbia
  • Charlie Chen Division of Palliative Care Medicine, University of British Columbia
  • Jocelyn Chase University of British Columbia
Keywords: Medical Education, Physician Assisted Death, Palliative Medicine

Abstract

Background: Little prior research has been conducted regarding resident physicians’ opinions on the subject of Physician Assisted Death (PAD), despite past surveys ascertaining the attitudes of practicing physicians towards PAD in Canada. We solicited British Columbia residents’ opinions on the amount of education they receive about palliative care and physician assisted death, and their attitudes towards the implementation of PAD.

Methods: We conducted a cross sectional, anonymous online survey with the resident physicians of British Columbia, Canada. Questions included: close-ended questions, graded Likert scale questions, and comments. 

Results: Among the respondents (n=299, response rate 24%), 44% received ≥5 hours of education in palliative care, 40% received between zero and four hours of education, and 16% reported zero hours. Of all respondents, 75% had received no education about PAD and the majority agreed that there should be more education about palliative care (74%) and PAD (85%). Only 35% of residents felt their program provided them with enough education to make an informed decision about PAD, yet 59% would provide a consenting patient with PAD. Half of the respondents believed PAD would ultimately be provided by palliative care physicians.

Interpretation: Residents desire further education about palliative care and PAD. Training programs should consider conducting a thorough needs assessment and implementing structured education to meet this need.

Author Biographies

David Spicer, Internal Medicine Residency Program, University of British Columbia
Internal Medicine Resident, PGY2
Sonia Paul, Family Medicine Residency Program, University of British Columbia
Family Medicine Resident
Tom Tang, Family Medicine Residency Program, University of British Columbia
Family Medicine Resident
Charlie Chen, Division of Palliative Care Medicine, University of British Columbia

Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

Palliative Medicine

Fraser Health Authority

Jocelyn Chase, University of British Columbia

Clinical Instructor, University of British Columbia

Geriatric and Internal Medicine

St. Paul’s Hospital

Published
2017-02-24
Section
Major Contributions