Simulation-based training for “front-of-house” staff in psychosis services

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Staff communication skills are key to improving patients’ experience of healthcare, from the point of first contact with services to treatment end. To date, training initiatives to improve communication have prioritised the clinical workforce, rather than allied and support staff. In this study we evaluated the impact of simulation-based communication training for “front-of-house” staff (receptionists and administrators) working in specialist psychosis services. Forty-three staff completed the two-day training. Before and after training, staff rated the importance of communication skills in their role (Attitude), their understanding of psychosis (Knowledge), and their workplace satisfaction (Satisfaction). Attendees repeated the measures at follow-up (6–12 months post-training; n = 11), alongside a behavioural communication skills task, and were compared to a group of non-attenders (n = 12). Pre–post improvements were evident on all measures, reaching significance for Knowledge (medium effect). Improvements were mostly maintained in the 26% of attendees completing follow-up assessments. At follow-up, attendees scored significantly higher than non-attenders on Attitude and Knowledge (large effects), marginally higher on skills, but lower on Satisfaction. The workshops improved staff understanding of psychosis and the importance of communication in their roles. The impact of the training on service users’ satisfaction with services should now be evaluated in a controlled trial.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-311
Number of pages10
JournalPsychosis-Psychological social and integrative approaches
Issue number4
Early online date3 Mar 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Mar 2015


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