Self-perceived competence among medical residents in skills needed to care for patients with advanced dementia versus metastatic cancer

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By bhadmin February 2, 2021

To examine medical residents’ perceived competence in caring for patients with dementia we conducted an online survey of all 120 second, third and fourth-year residents in Internal Medicine, Medicine/Pediatrics, and Family Medicine at University of Michigan. A structured survey elicited residents’ training, experience, confidence, and perceived career needs for skills in estimating prognosis, symptom management, and communication in caring for patients with dementia, compared to patients with metastatic cancer. Among the 61 (51 %) respondents, a majority report lower confidence in assessing prognosis and eliciting treatment wishes in patients with dementia (vs. metastatic cancer), and in performing skills integral to the care of patients with dementia, including the ability to assess caregiver needs, decisional capacity, advise on place of care, and manage agitation, despite viewing these skills as important to their future careers. These findings support the need for enhanced education on optimal care of patients with advanced dementia.

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