Dr. Kevin Pho talks about some of his end of life conversations with elderly patients that had an unexpected outcome. For many practitioners, end of life conversations are one of the most difficult conversations to have with a patient or a patient’s family. He gives 4 helpful suggestions on his blog, KevinMD:
Trust that the family knows what is the patient’s best interest since they know how to care for their loved one. This can help physicians shed their own biases and preconceived notions about family members whose values differ from their own.
Show your vulnerability by telling a personal story about a past experience struggling with decision-making for a loved one.
Demonstrate your moral ethic by telling the family that you are devoted to caring for the patient with his or her best interest in mind.
Be honest and direct in delivering news and recommendations, but also do it with compassion.