At the Institute for Human Caring, we offer physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and others advanced training and support in providing whole person care through the end of life.
We promote messages and strategies aimed at a grassroots shift away from our cultural aversion to discussing serious illness and dying. Shared decision-making is essential to quality care, and clinical professionals play a crucial role in fostering meaningful conversations about a person’s values, preferences and priorities.
Many Americans still suffer unnecessarily as they near the end of life. Too often people don’t die how or where that want. That’s partly because they don’t entirely understand their treatment options, haven’t had important conversations with their families and doctors, and haven’t prepared advance directives to give the people they trust clear authority to speak on their behalf.
Physicians need to take the lead in initiating such discussions with patients and families. To deliver whole person care, these conversations should address an array of issues, including:
- A patient's life expectancy
- Fears about dying
- Medical care options
- Advance directives
The result of these broad conversations will be a treatment plan that reflects the medical and personal desires of a patient, the essence of whole person care. These discussions also can minimize pain and suffering, and ease the fears and anxieties of patients and families alike.
The Institute for Human Caring offers educational programs to help clinicians become comfortable with whole person care, and helps clinicians share their expertise and best practices.
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