Protocol: Evaluating the impact of a nation-wide train-the-trainer educational initiative to enhance the quality of palliative care for children with cancer Widger, Kimberley; Friedrichsdorf, Stefan; Wolfe, Joanne; Liben, Stephen; Pole, Jason D; Bouffet, Eric; Greenberg, Mark; Husain, Amna; Siden, Harold; Whitlock, James A; Rapoport, Adam
Background: There are identified gaps in the care provided to children with cancer based on the self-identified lack of education for health care professionals in pediatric palliative care and in the perceptions of bereaved parents who describe suboptimal care. In order to address these gaps, we will implement and evaluate a national roll-out of Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Pediatrics (EPEC®-Pediatrics), using a ‘Train-the-Trainer’ model. Methods/design: In this study we are using a pre- post-test design and an integrated knowledge translation approach to assess the impact of the educational roll-out in four areas: 1) self-assessed knowledge of health professionals; 2) knowledge dissemination outcomes; 3) practice change outcomes; and 4) quality of palliative care. The quality of palliative care will be assessed using data from three sources: a) parent and child surveys about symptoms, quality of life and care provided; b) health record reviews of deceased patients; and c) bereaved parent surveys about end-of-life and bereavement care. After being trained in EPEC®-Pediatrics, ‘Master Facilitators’ will train ‘Regional Teams’ affiliated with 16 pediatric oncology programs in Canada. Each team will consist of three to five health professionals representing oncology, palliative care, and the community. Each team member will complete online modules and attend one of two face-to-face conferences, where they will receive training and materials to teach the EPEC®-Pediatrics curriculum to ‘End-Users’ in their region. Regional Teams will also choose a Tailored Implementation of Practice Standards (TIPS) Kit to guide implementation of a quality improvement project in their region; support will be provided via quarterly meetings with Co-Leads and via a listserv and webinars with other teams. Discussion: Through this study we aim to raise the level of pediatric palliative care education amongst health care professionals in Canada. Our study will be a significant step forward in evaluation of the impact of EPEC®-Pediatrics both on dissemination outcomes and on care quality at a national level. Based on the anticipated success of our project we hope to expand the EPEC®-Pediatrics roll-out to health professionals who care for children with non-oncological life-threatening conditions.
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