Development and Validation of a Family Meeting Assessment Tool (FMAT)

Yuya Hagiwara, Jennifer Healy, Shuko Lee, Jeanette Ross, Dixie Fischer, Sandra Sanchez-Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Context A cornerstone procedure in Palliative Medicine is to perform family meetings. Learning how to lead a family meeting is an important skill for physicians and others who care for patients with serious illnesses and their families. There is limited evidence on how to assess best practice behaviors during end-of-life family meetings. Objectives Our aim was to develop and validate an observational tool to assess trainees' ability to lead a simulated end-of-life family meeting. Methods Building on evidence from published studies and accrediting agency guidelines, an expert panel at our institution developed the Family Meeting Assessment Tool. All fourth-year medical students (MS4) and eight geriatric and palliative medicine fellows (GPFs) were invited to participate in a Family Meeting Objective Structured Clinical Examination, where each trainee assumed the physician role leading a complex family meeting. Two evaluators observed and rated randomly chosen students' performances using the Family Meeting Assessment Tool during the examination. Inter-rater reliability was measured using percent agreement. Internal consistency was measured using Cronbach α. Results A total of 141 trainees (MS4 = 133 and GPF = 8) and 26 interdisciplinary evaluators participated in the study. Internal reliability (Cronbach α) of the tool was 0.85. Number of trainees rated by two evaluators was 210 (MS4 = 202 and GPF = 8). Rater agreement was 84%. Composite scores, on average, were significantly higher for fellows than for medical students (P < 0.001). Conclusion Expert-based content, high inter-rater reliability, good internal consistency, and ability to predict educational level provided initial evidence for construct validity for this novel assessment tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-93
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Objective structured clinical examination
  • communication
  • family meetings
  • goals of care
  • medical education
  • palliative care
  • undergraduate medical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • General Nursing


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