New PA POLST Live Virtual Course Launches

On May 3, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and Pennsylvania POLST presented the new POLST: Doing it Right! Virtual Course to a multidisciplinary group of 22 adult learners from across the commonwealth. The virtual course was adapted from the prior in-person curriculum and is part of a larger redesign of the POLST training. This project was supported by a grant from the McElhatten Foundation to enhance access to POLST education and resources for healthcare providers and personnel throughout Pennsylvania. Participants received a total of 5 continuing education credits for completing the virtual course.

During the session, participants had the opportunity to review the history and background of POLST, learn techniques and tools to improve POLST conversation facilitation skills, review teaching materials that can be used across all healthcare settings, and, most importantly, practice having conversations about POLST through role-play using case studies developed around various patient scenarios.

A multidisciplinary, statewide faculty served as facilitators for the POLST conversations. Faculty included Judith S. Black, MD, MHA; Kalpana Char, MD, associate vice president, Special Needs Program Medical Services, UPMC Health Plan; Justin Engleka, GNP-BC, ACHPN, MBA, senior palliative care program manager, Helion Healthcare; Jeanne Kerwin, D.MH, HEC-C, clinical ethics and palliative care consultant; Margaret Kreher, MD, FACP, clinical associate professor, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Care, Family and Community Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College; Suzanne Labriola, DO, primary care and integrated medicine physician, Pittsburgh Health Partners; and Alexander Nesbitt, MD, medical director, UPMC Susquehanna Health Supportive and Palliative Care. Faculty, course participants, and JHF staff served as observers during the role-play exercise and provided feedback on the conversations.

In collaboration with a statewide POLST Curriculum Committee, PA POLST is also developing enduring continuing education modules on the following topics:

  • Overview of POLST and Advance Directives
  • POLST Conversations & Tools
  • POLST Implementation
  • Medicare Reimbursement for Advance Care Planning Discussions
  • Emergency Medical Services and POLST
  • Cultural Competency & POLST

These self-paced modules will be available soon on the
PA POLST website, and learners will be able to receive continuing education credits. 

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