Healthcare CommunicationHealthcare WellbeingMedical EducationSMACCMedical Simulation improving patient communication

Medical Simulation improving patient communication: Jon Gatward

We regularly have difficult conversations in critical care. We deal with sick and complex patients who may be at the end of life.

The families we talk to may be in a state of shock, unable to make important decisions. Moreover, patient safety incidents and other challenging issues such as organ and tissue donation may further complicate the patient journey.

In this talk, Jon Gatward discusses difficult conversations.

Jon examines some of the key elements that can contribute to successful communication in difficult circumstances such as:

  1. Having a plan and a structure before embarking on these difficult conversations.
  2. Working towards a common agenda and ensuring that everyone feels safe and able to ask questions.
  3. Showing empathy and using silence well, allowing people the space and time to process information.
  4. Giving people the benefit of the doubt, after all, these are their family members that we are talking about.

Simulation training is a useful tool to improve the quality of communication. This is helpful when guiding patients and families through complex and challenging situations. Ultimately, lessons learnt from simulation can be transferred to real life conversations.

Most importantly – we need to ensure that we look out for ourselves and for our colleagues. These conversations are draining and difficult.

Tune in to a DAS SMACC talk by Jon Gatward on Critical Moments in the Intensive Care Unit.

Medical Simulation improving patient communication: Jon Gatward

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Jon Gatward

Jon is a Sydney-based Intensive Care Specialist with special interests and qualifications in medical education, simulation and debriefing. He likes to take simulation out of the Sim centre, running inter-professional scenarios in-situ in the Royal North Shore ICU. Jon is an organ donation specialist and lead trainer for the Organ and Tissue Authority Family Donation Conversation workshop. He has extensive experience with simulation training for difficult conversations. Jon is also an airway fanatic. He is the incoming President of the Safe Airway Society of Australia and New Zealand and runs the Critical Care Airway Management Course. He is also interested in patient safety and quality, and is a member of the Best Practice Working Group at Intensive Care NSW: part of the Agency for Clinical Innovation. He loves spending time with his family: Caroline, Thomas and Holly.