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Aust Clin Rev. 1993;13(4):185-9.

An evaluation of an educational intervention to improve death certification practice.

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  • 1Menzies School of Health Research, Casuarina (Darwin), Northern Territory.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of an educational intervention on the knowledge and behaviour of hospital staff pertaining to death certification. A questionnaire was administered, and certification error assessed both before and after written educational material was provided. Although the response rate to the questionnaire was disappointing (19.1%), the findings revealed a poor baseline understanding of the subject that improved after reading the educational material. Certification error fell from a baseline of 22.4 to 15.1% 2 months later, although the magnitude of the fall was not statistically significant. It was concluded that a simple questionnaire used in conjunction with educational material can focus attention on potential knowledge gaps relating to death certification. However, the educational effort needs to be sustained and linked to outcome assessment of certification performance in the institution.

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