The following guide will provide supporting educational materials for health care providers on how to initiate conversations about serious illness with patients and their family members.
The main areas of focus are outlined below:
The goal of initiating conversations about serious illness is to identify a plan of care that reflects the goals, values, and wishes of the patient.
Educational content in this guide is focused on enhancing health care providers' abilities to lead Advance Care Planning (ACP) and Goals of Care (GOC) conversations, as well as encouraging the standardized use of the Conversations About Serious Illness tools and resources.
Common situations may trigger a health care provider to begin a serious illness conversation with a patient, including:
First, the health care provider should establish clear permission with the patient to begin a serious illness conversation. Once permission is obtained, work with the patient to determine type and volume of information needed.
Bernacki R & Block S. Communication about serious illness care goals: a review and synthesis of best practice. JAMA Intern Med.2014; 174(12):1994-2003.
Brighton L & Bristowe K. Communication in palliative care: talking about the end of life, before the end of life. Postgrad Med J. 2016;92:466-470.
Clayton J, Hancock K, Parker S, Butow P, Walder S, Carrick S et al. Sustaining hope when communicating with terminally ill patients and their families: a systematic review. Psycho-Onc. 2008;17:641-659.
Johnson S, Butow P, Kerridge I, Tattersall M. Advance care planning for cancer patients: a systematic review of perceptions and experiences of patients, families and healthcare providers. Psycho-Onc. 2016;25:362-386.
Larkin J, Block S, Billings A, Koritsanszky L, Cunningham R, Wichmann L et al. Improving communication about serious illness in primary care: a review. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(9):1380-1387.
Patients who have end-of-life conversations with their doctors and family members...
This 3-hour workshop is designed to increase health provider comfort and skill in having conversations about goals of care in the context of a serious illness. Learners are guided through the evidence, rationale and importance of conversations about serious illness in cancer patient care and will be introduced to how to use the Serious Illness Conversation Guide resources in their practice. This Workshop is in the process of CME accreditation.
To learn more about registering for a Workshop, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education was developed through a collaboration between Nova Scotia Cancer Care Program, Nova Scotia Health Authority, and Nova Scotia Hospice Palliative Care Association.
Production of this education has been made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada, through the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.