Introduction: Although palliative care (PC) services are developed in Romania since 1992 at present around 10% cancer patients receive specialized palliative care. Training oncologist to deliver basic palliative care is a must.
Aim: To develop a theoretical and practical training program for oncology residents based on ESMO/ASCO recommendation. Assess the baseline knowledge of oncology residents regarding palliative care prior to the educational intervention
Method: Based on ESMO/ASCO recommendations, PC curriculum for medical oncology was developed and piloted in 5 counties in Romania. From 270 oncology residents from Romania, 144 participated in PC theoretical courses (42 hours). Participants received a pre-test before and a post-test after the theoretical training for testing knowledge related to PC. 31 residents will finish also the clinical placement and will complete a post-test 2 related to knowledge. Means for each topic from pre and post-test were compared. We used Paired Sample T Test.
Results: Main content items covered in the multiple-choice examination included pain, non-pain symptom assessment and management, communication (with patient and family, feedback from mentors), psychosocial and spiritual care, knowledge of/referral to hospice, end-of-life care. From 144 participants to theoretical training, 86 had pre and post-test completed. Comparing pre and post test scores there was a 70% increase of knowledge related to PC. There were 36 topics from which 6 topics didn’t have paired question either in the pre-test, either in the post-test. Applying Paired Sample T Test, 30 pairs were compared: 3 pairs (on breaking bad news, fatigue and neuropsychiatric symptoms) weren’t significant; the rest of 27 pairs were all significant for a p ≤ 0.001.
Conclusion: Including a PC module in oncology residents training program will increase their knowledge regarding PC and hopefully will improve quality of care to oncology patients.