Checklist approach to be tested in end-of-life care planning –

Good initiative to help oncologists and medical teams have a more structured and regular way to have these uncomfortable discussions, earlier on to have a better sense of patient wishes, rather than what appears to be the general practice of these discussions occurring around 5 weeks before death. Quote:

Oncologists participating in the trial will undergo a 2½-hour training session on how to use the checklist. They can have nurse practitioners join them for the training and help carry out the conversations with patients, which can take 25 to 40 minutes. The checklist asks patients who are estimated to have less than a year to live to discuss:

  • Their understanding of the prognosis;
  • How much information they want shared with loved ones;
  • Their goals of care, should their health seriously worsen;
  • Their biggest fears and what functional abilities they could not imagine living without;
  • How much medical intervention they are willing to undergo to gain more time;
  • How much they want family members to know about their priorities and wishes….

“We need to ask the right questions,” said Dr. Block, chair of the Dept. of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “Instead of focusing on procedures, we need to be focusing on goals, values, fears, quality of life, suffering and survival. Those are the things that matter to patients.”

Checklist approach to be tested in end-of-life care planning –


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