Exploring End-of-Life Care Team Communication: An Interprofessional Simulation Study

Megan Lippe, Alexandra Stanley, Allison Ricamato, Anne Halli-Tierney, Robert McKinney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Effective team communication is necessary for the provision of high-quality health care. Yet, recent graduates from diverse health-care disciplines report inadequate training in communication skills and end-of-life care. This study explored the impact of a withdrawal of life-sustaining measures interprofessional simulation on team communication skills of students representing medicine, nursing, and social work. The 3-phase simulation required teams to communicate with the patient, family, and one another in the care of a seriously ill patient at the end of life. Team communication in the filmed simulations was analyzed via the Gap-Kalamazoo Communication Checklist. Results revealed fair to good communication across the 9 communication domains. Overall team communication was strongest in “shares information” and lowest in “understands the patient’s and family’s perspective” domains. Field notes revealed 5 primary themes—Team Dynamics, Awkwardness, Empathy is Everything, Build a Relationship, and Communicating Knowledge When You Have It—in the course of the data analysis. Logistical challenges encountered in simulation development and implementation are presented, along with proposed solutions that were effective for this study. This simulation provided an opportunity for interprofessional health-care provider students to learn team communication skills within an end-of-life care context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-71
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Gap-Kalamazoo
  • communication
  • end of life
  • health-care education
  • interprofessional education
  • simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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