The Serious Illness Care program facilitates appropriate conversations between clinicians, seriously ill patients and their families. Drawn from best practices in palliative care, the intervention provides guidance for clinicians to initiate these difficult conversations in the right way, at the right time. Patients then have the opportunity to make informed choices that reflect their values, reduce suffering, enhance family well-being and improve quality of life.
The Serious Illness Care Program includes:
- A system to identify appropriate patients
- Training and coaching for clinicians
- A prompt for clinicians to conduct serious illness conversations at the right time
- A short, simple Serious Illness Conversation Guide that addresses:
∙ patient understanding of their illness
∙ patient preferences for information
∙ patient preferences for family involvement
∙ personal life goals
∙ fears and anxieties
∙ tradeoffs they are willing to accept
- Suggestions to help patients discuss preferences about care with their families
- A system for documenting personalized patient goals and priorities in the electronic health record
Work is underway to implement this intervention in a variety of settings in the U.S. and other countries. The intervention will also be continuously improved from lessons learned through these implementations.