Interprofessional Family Conferencing (IFC): Translating knowledge to practice using simulation based education

Ms Daniella Pfeiffer1, Mrs Sue Aldrich1

1Health Education And Training Institute, Sydney, Australia


Health care professionals across NSW Health have been equipped with knowledge and skills in best practice family conferencing principles through participating in the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) Interprofessional Family Conferencing (IFC) training program. This program is delivered through a blended learning package including an eLearning module and face to face simulation workshop. The use of simulated patient methodology together with principles of Interprofessional Education (IPE) equips participants with tools and strategies to put their learning into action.

Methodology/data analysis/literature/tools/methods used

Family conferencing is a commonly used interprofessional healthcare intervention that involves the patient, their family and health professionals coming together to communicate around care needs.  Evidence has identified that family conferencing results in increased patient survival, decreased length of stay, decreased readmission rates and higher patient satisfaction. However no formal family conferencing training existed within the NSW Health public health system.

Developed in collaboration with subject matter experts from across NSW Health and incorporating IPE principles in the curriculum content, the IFC program trains health professionals in skills to effectively plan and participate in a family conference. Interactive education and training methods, including simulation scenario based learning encourages participation and promotes strategies for collaborative practice, teamwork and communication. The debriefing phase of the simulation in particular is an effective tool to encourage reflection on performance both individually and as a ‘team’ and carry this learning into ongoing clinical practice.


In 2018, the eLearning module was completed by 411 NSW Health staff and the face-to-face training program was delivered to 200 NSW Health staff via 23 workshops in 13 Local Health Districts and Speciality Health Networks. Evaluations received to date indicate that the program offers valuable learning and that simulation as an interactive teaching and learning tool supports the translation of knowledge into practice.


Daniella Pfeiffer and Sue Aldrich are both Senior Program Officer’s at the Health Education and Training Institute

NAHC Conferences

2007, Hobart (7th NAHC)

2009, Canberra (8th NAHC)

2012, Canberra (9th NAHC)

2013, Brisbane (10th NAHC)

2015, Melbourne (11th NAHC)

2017, Sydney (12th NAHC)

2019, Brisbane (13th NAHC)

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.

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