Preparation of residents for death pronouncement: a sensitive and supportive method.

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE: To identify factors associated with internal medicine interns' self-assessed competency in death pronouncement and to evaluate the effectiveness of a 10-minute death pronouncement module and pocket card guidelines. METHODS: In June 2003 at the Birmingham VAMC, Alabama, 48 internal medicine interns completed a survey of medical school education, training, and experience in death pronouncement and a self-assessment of death pronouncement competency. In September 2003, 33 of the 48 interns completed a follow-up training/education survey and rated their post-intervention competency. Using chi-square and paired t-tests, we identified factors associated with variations among baseline and post-intervention variables and examined pre-post changes in self-assessed competency levels. RESULTS: At baseline, less than 30% of the interns had medical school instruction in the process of death pronouncement. More than 70% reported needing basic instruction/close supervision. Post-intervention, close to 90% interns needed minimal or no assistance. Over 50% reported using pocket card guidelines. We found significant pre-post increases in mean rankings in each of the 5 self-assessed competencies (p < .001). Factors associated with differences in baseline and post-intervention assessments included medical school training/experience and use of the pocket card guidelines. SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: When interns began training, most had no instruction in death pronouncement and felt unprepared for this task. With brief instruction, pocket card guidelines, and 3-months experience, the majority of interns reported needing minimal/no assistance in pronouncing death. A larger sample from multiple sites is needed to confirm these findings.
  • Author List

  • Bailey FA; Williams BR
  • Start Page

  • 107
  • End Page

  • 114
  • Volume

  • 3
  • Issue

  • 2