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Language to guide End of Life Conversations:

“Are there any treatments that you might not want to receive?

“Are you a person, who when the time comes, would like to be allowed to die naturally?”

“If you ever became so ill that you were unable to speak for yourself, who would you want to make decisions regarding your medical care?” 1

"Please understand that we are not asking you to decide   whether your mother will live or die, but to communicate to us what she would want."

"Our goal is to make sure that all treatments we offer will be beneficial to your father."

Effective communication at end of life can help allay fears the patient or family members often experience as they struggle to accept the reality of their situation...”

                                                                                                                                Dr. Richard B. Balaban

1 Balaban RB. A Physician's Guide to Talking about End-of-Life Care.

JGIM. 2000;15:195-200

Questions to contemplate when considering

interventions for the patient at end of life.

1.

Consider the patient’s wishes regarding life-sustaining therapies.

2.

Consider potential benefits versus possible burdens of treatment.

3.

Is it probable that the patient will die regardless of this intervention?

4.

Will the patient accept the quality of life if he/she   survives the intervention?

5.

Would it surprise you to hear that this patient died in the next 1-2 years? If not, we owe it to the patient and family to initiate advanced care planning discussions.

To help someone die in comfort, in peace, and with dignity is to give one final gift of life.”

Dr. Richard B. Balaban

March 17, 2009

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