Training psychiatry residents in complex communication skills for working with clients and their supports

Project Type(s):

Principal Investigator(s):

Individuals with serious persistent mental illness (SPMI) and their families and communities face significant challenges during psychiatric hospitalization. Persons with SPMI and their supporters express a need for enhanced communication from their behavioral healthcare teams during these pivotal periods of time where symptoms are new or intense. Yet, a substantial number of mental health providers have limited training in communicating complex topics such as diagnosis and prognosis. This can lead to providers avoiding essential conversations; individuals with SPMI can be unheard or excluded from participating in treatment planning.

This educational initiative seeks to craft an innovative curriculum for psychiatry residents focused on person-centered communication skills. Drawing from proven communication training frameworks within palliative care, the training will equip residents with strategies such as: utilizing person-centered language; conducting family meetings; delivering diagnostic and prognostic information. The curriculum will be developed with guidance from individuals with lived experienced of SPMI and their supporters. Moreover, the project will deliver a dedicated online portal featuring educational materials, recorded presentations, role-play scripts, and communication guides. Tools, such as self-assessment and evaluation rubrics, will be created to evaluate efficacy.  

Project Period:
January 1, 2024 December 31, 2023

Funding Type(s):

Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions

Geographic Area(s):
University of Washington

Practice Type(s):

Patient Population(s):

Targeted Condition(s):
Serious Mental Illness