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Using Brief Clinical Life Review with Medical Students

Using Brief Clinical Life Review with Medical Students

University of South Carolina School of Medicine
Kay McFarland, MPH, Donna Rhoades, MPH, Ellen Roberts, MPH
AAMC/John A. Hartford Foundation
Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
John A. Hartford Foundation
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Communication greatly influences satisfaction with health care. Patient or client-centered encounters improve both patient and healthcare provider satisfaction. Brief clinical life review provides a humanistic approach to interviewing, which enables healthcare providers to learn about their clients' values and beliefs, which significantly affect their health behaviors and outcomes. The life review interview helps the health care provider see the patient as a whole person within a psychosocial and spiritual context. We teach brief clinical life review as a way to center attention on the patient's perspective and encourage the listening part of communication.

Educational objectives: 

Goals: 1. Emphasize the difference between medical history and life review noting that the medical history requires the collection of data and the life review primarily centers on listening. 2. Encourage knowing another person's point of view by learning the value of listening through patient-centered interviewing and the value of assessing psychosocial issues, such as values, beliefs and the meaning of an illness. 3. Special emphasis on learning how to hear about feelings by stressing the use of encouragers, open ended questions and empathetic statements. 4. Convey understanding that life review is not about getting facts, but rather understanding how experiences shape perspectives, beliefs, values, feelings and health behaviors. Objectives: after using this product, learners will be able to: 1. Utilize patient-centered interviewing by using the "L-I-S-T-E-N" method to conduct a brief clinical life review. 2. Use open ended questions. 3. Demonstrate integrative reasoning skills after conducting a brief clinical life-review by depicting main events, stresses, successes, values, and meaning with a diagram. 4. Reflect and write about how key life experiences affect values, beliefs, and health behaviors. 5. Determine when and why life review and reminiscing may be of value to physicians and older adults.

Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

Used with 320 4th year medical students in: Part 1: Classroom Part 2 Senior mentor's home/location of choice Students reported differing views when asked what year life review should be integrated into a medical school curriculum. Also, students complained that the length of time allowed between the lecture and the interview was too long. Many students waited until right before the deadline to do the interview and had forgotten much of the lecture. Students also recommended that video taping their interview with the mentor would be better than audio taping it.

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Kay McFarland, Donna Rhoades and Ellen Roberts. Using Brief Clinical Life Review with Medical Students. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2006 Available from: