Curricular innovations for medical students in palliative and end-of-life care: a systematic review and assessment of study quality. Journal of palliative medicine Decoste-Lopez, J., Madhok, J., Harman, S. 2015; 18 (4): 338-349


Recent focus on palliative and end-of-life care has led medical schools worldwide to enhance their palliative care curricula.The objective of the study was to describe recent curricular innovations in palliative care for medical students, evaluate the quality of studies in the field, and inform future research and curricular design.The authors searched Medline, Scopus, and Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC) for English-language articles published between 2007 and 2013 describing a palliative care curriculum for medical students. Characteristics of the curricula were extracted, and methodological quality was assessed using the Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument (MERSQI).The sample described 48 curricula in 12 countries. Faculty were usually interdisciplinary. Palliative care topics included patient assessment, communication, pain and symptom management, psychosocial and spiritual needs, bioethics and the law, role in the health care system, interdisciplinary teamwork, and self-care. Thirty-nine articles included quantitative evaluation, with a mean MERSQI score of 9.9 (on a scale of 5 to 18). The domain most likely to receive a high score was data analysis (mean 2.51 out of 3), while the domains most likely to receive low scores were validity of instrument (mean 1.05) and outcomes (mean 1.31).Recent innovations in palliative care education for medical students represent varied settings, learner levels, instructors, educational modalities, and palliative care topics. Future curricula should continue to incorporate interdisciplinary faculty. Studies could be improved by integrating longitudinal curricula and longer-term outcomes; collaborating across institutions; using validated measures; and assessing higher-level outcomes including skills, behaviors, and impact on patient care.

View details for DOI 10.1089/jpm.2014.0270

View details for PubMedID 25549065