What is Real Talk?

Real Talk comprises resources for teaching communication skills relevant to palliative and end of life care. It is for use at face-to-face training sessions with health and social care staff and trainees. It is designed to complement rather than replace existing forms of training. At its core are clips from consultations recorded in the outpatient, inpatient and day therapy services of a UK Hospice. There are two sections to the Real Talk resources on this website:

An open access section that explains Real Talk, provides details about the case studies it includes, and about relevant publications. Each case study contains: a synopsis which provides background, a summary of the entire consultation (because the clips can only cover short excerpts from it), a transcript of each clip, and learning points for training facilitators to use – these are based on evidence from conversation analytic research.

A secure login section which provides access to the clips. Registration for secure access is granted via the Real Talk team at Loughborough University. Application can be made via the online apply form on our website or by emailing realtalk@lboro.ac.uk

Am I eligible to apply to use the Real Talk video clips?

Real Talk resources are available free of charge to registered professionals and trainers working in the NHS, organisations that work with the NHS such as hospices, and higher education institutions. These film clips are only to be used in face-to-face training sessions with health and social care staff and trainees. Participants in the video clips used in Real Talk consented to them being played within training only where this is UK-based.

Access is restricted because the clips are recordings of consultations in which real patients, relatives and doctors are clearly recognisable. All participants gave their permission for their recordings to be used in teaching, but only with certain safeguards. Safeguards include password protection of electronic devices and of the online repository of film clips; undertakings that only trainers registered with the project will use and play the clips; and that trainers will only use and play the clips for the purpose of preparing and delivering face-to-face training in the UK. For more information regarding eligibility for access please email the Real Talk team realtalk@lboro.ac.uk

Do I need to complete any training to be able to use / facilitate Real Talk?

Attending a formal training session is not required to work with the video clips or accompanying resources. However, preparation is essential and we encourage you take time to review the resources and become familiar with the transcripts and learning points. We have provided guidance for facilitators to help assist in preparing to use the resources.

We provide bespoke train the trainer sessions for organisations on a negotiated fee basis. Please email the Real Talk team for more information realtalk@lboro.ac.uk

What does Real Talk contain?

In Module One, Cases 1 – 4 include sets of real life video clips that focus on ‘broaching dying’: how practitioners encourage talk about patients’ end of life and dying. As you may know, broaching dying is a necessary step towards making plans for the future, it also provides opportunities to address feelings and fears.

In Module Two, cases 5 and 6 focus on when patients ask, and doctors respond to, a ‘How long have I got?’ type of question.

For each case we provide:

A case synopsis which highlights key words, background details about the patient, and an overview of the consultation. This helps give context to the individual video clips. Individual video clips focus in on fairly short episodes, the synopsis gives the bigger picture.

CARE questionnaire rating – this is a patient reported measure of the clinician’s communicative Care and Relational Empathy.

Clip transcripts – simplified transcripts that can be printed out for use in training or shown on via overhead projection.

A set of teaching and learning points that draw specifically on the conversation analytic perspective to understanding communication. This is the research approach used in the VERDIS research programme from which Real Talk is built. Conversation analysis focuses on what is visible in interactions, and on what people do, attempt, and accomplish through their communicative actions. It assumes people do what they do for good reasons, and that there are various ways to accomplish any communicative task, each way having a range of pros and cons. Trainers can use the resources without being trained in conversation analysis.

A bibliography lists some introductory readings about the conversation analysis perspective, key papers and reports of conversation analytic research findings relevant to palliative care communication. We have included electronic links to publications wherever possible.

Who can I use Real Talk with?

Any healthcare member of staff, or healthcare trainee who is working with NHS and/or hospice patients, and who may have conversations about the end of life. It can also be used with staff and trainees in the social care and voluntary sectors.

Will having access to Real Talk incur any cost to me or my organisation?

No. We provide access to the Real Talk website and secure access to the video clips without charge to eligible trainers who have registered with us. However, we also offer bespoke train the trainer programme designed around the needs of an organisation for an agreed cost. Please contact the Real Talk team for more information realtalk@lboro.ac.uk

Do I have to follow a set teaching plan to use Real Talk?

No. We have designed Real Talk to be easy to incorporate into an existing programme or into new programmes you might be developing. Therefore this enables you to decide on group size, length of sessions and number of facilitators appropriate for your session. We are able to advise on lesson plans based on our experiences in the pilot and from ongoing feedback from facilitators across the UK who are actively using Real Talk.

Can I use Real Talk in my existing teaching sessions/curriculum?

Yes. We actively encourage you to incorporate the resources into your existing curriculum. We will use the Blog tab on the website to share examples of use and to build a community of practice.

Can Real Talk be used with professionals other than doctors?

Absolutely. One of the unique selling points for Real Talk is its relevance across a spectrum of health and social care staff and trainees. The video clips demonstrate consultation between a patient and an experienced palliative doctor. In our pilot we have been trialling Real Talk across a range of settings and so far we are aware Real Talk has been used effectively with student doctors and nurses, hospice volunteers, allied health professionals, paramedics, senior care home teams and clinicians in the prison service.

Can I link up with other practitioners in my organisation, locality or speciality who are using Real Talk?

Yes we encourage this. There are already active groups of facilitators and this is an effective way of building a community of practice. Please email the Real Talk team on realtalk@lboro.ac.uk if you would like information regarding Real Talk activity in your area. We are in the process of building up a network of users and sharing of good practice.

Does Real Talk link to published evidence?

Yes. The evidence base is growing as our analysis and application to practice develops. There are a range of published papers listed on the Real Talk website, with links provided where possible. We also provide links to short summaries of these papers.

A full list can be found on Ruth’s Loughborough staff page.

Do I need to be a trained communication skills trainer to have access to Real Talk?

No, you do not need to have formal communication skills qualification. In our pilot we have found that experienced clinicians and trainers are able to work confidently with the Real Talk video clips and resources. When you Apply we request information regarding your current role and training responsibilities in order to determine if we can grant you access the secure video clips.

I work outside of the NHS. Can I have access to Real Talk?

Yes, if you deliver training in the UK, and provide training to health or social care staff, trainees and volunteers.

I run a for profit education consultancy, can I have access to Real Talk?

You can have access to resources on this open access website which contains a range of Real Talk resources. You are not able to a have access to the secure video clips. This is because our funders do not support profit making from the resources.

I run or work for a not for profit organisation, can I have access to Real Talk

Yes, if we can determine a profit is not being made from using the video clips in training we are able to provide secure access to the login section of the website.