Breaking Bad News Training Program Based on Video Reviews and SPIKES Strategy: What do Perinatology Residents Think about It?

Abstract Objective Resident doctors usually face the task to communicate bad news in perinatology without any formal training. The impact on parents can be disastrous. The objective of this paper is to analyze the perception of residents regarding a training program in communicating bad news in perinatology based on video reviews and setting, perception, invitation, knowledge, emotion, and summary (SPIKES) strategy. Methods We performed the analysis of complementary data collected from participants in a randomized controlled intervention study to evaluate the efficacy of a training program on improving residents’ skills to communicate bad news. Data were collected using a Likert scale. Through a thematic content analysis we tried to to apprehend the meanings, feelings and experiences expressed by resident doctors in their comments as a response to an open-ended question. Half of the group received training, consisting of discussions of video reviews of participants’ simulated encounters communicating a perinatal loss to a “mother” based on the SPIKES strategy. We also offered training sessions to the control group after they completed participation. Twenty-eight residents who were randomized to intervention and 16 from the control group received training. Twenty written comments were analyzed. Results The majority of the residents evaluated training highly as an education activity to help increase knowledge, ability and understanding about breaking bad news in perinatology. Three big categories emerged fromresidents’ comments: SPIKES training effects; bad news communication in medical training; and doctors’ feelings and relationship with patients. Conclusions Residents took SPIKES training as a guide to systematize the communication of bad news and to amplify perceptions of the emotional needs of the patients. They suggested the insertion of a similar training in their residency programs curricula.