Communication About Serious Illness Care Goals

Communication can be challenging, yet essential to developing an effective care plan for patients who are seriously ill.  There is a misconception that talking about end-of-life issues increases patient distress when in reality, there is little supporting evidence that this occurs. The American College of Physicians (ACP) High Value Care Initiative’s review of best practice for communicating about serious illness goals was published by JAMA Internal Medicine in 2014. Advanced care planning and end-of-life communication evidence is evaluated, including the impact on patients.  Based on this assessment, an evidence-based, systematic approach resulting in a personalized serious illness treatment plan is proposed.  Although this study was published in December 2014, its evaluation of current practices and the systematic approach recommended within remain valid today.

Link to JAMA Internal Medicine abstract (12/2014)