Background: Palliative medicine is developing as a distinct clinical discipline worldwide. The U.S. literature describes goals for education in palliative medicine, yet this literature lacks validated educational objectives.
Method: To develop and validate appropriate educational objectives for medical training in the care of the terminally ill, 200 randomly selected members of the Academy of Hospice Physicians were asked in 1992 to evaluate 39 educational objectives by an item-objective congruence procedure. Each objective was rated as -1 (inappropriate), 0 (unsure), or 1 (appropriate).
Results: Of the 200 members surveyed, 127 (64%) responded. Of the 39 objectives, 34 were considered valid, with a mean score of > or = .8. The index of content validity was .87. The objectives not considered valid all dealt with nonmedical issues related to hospice or palliative care.
Conclusion: This study validated 34 educational objectives for medical training in the care of the terminally ill. Training programs using these objectives, amended for specific audiences, should be included in the various levels of U.S. medical education.