Background. Communication skills are critical in Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine because these patients confront complex clinical scenarios. We evaluated the effectiveness of the Geritalk communication skills course by comparing pre- and post-course real-time assessment of the participants leading family meetings. We also evaluated the participants sustained skills practice. Measures. We compare the participants skill acquisition before and after Geritalk using a direct observation Family Meeting Communication Assessment Tool and assess their deliberate practice at follow-up. Intervention. First-year Geriatrics or Palliative Medicine fellows at Mount Sinai Medical Center and the James J. Peters Bronx VA Medical Center participated in Geritalk. Outcomes. Pre- and post-course family meeting assessments were compared. An average net gain of 6.8 skills represented a greater than 20% improvement in use of applicable skills. At two month follow-up, most participants reported deliberate practice of fundamental and advanced skills. Conclusions/Lessons Learned. This intensive training and family meeting assessment offers evidence-based communication skills training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-744.e6
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014


  • Communication skills
  • assessment tool
  • deliberate
  • education
  • graduate medical
  • meeting
  • practice family


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