Talking about dying: how to begin conversations about what lies ahead
By Dr Sarah-Jane Bailey and Kacey Cogle
The role of doctors and their relationship with the patients they care for has changed from when the NHS was set up 70 years ago. There are fewer transactional consultations about a single, curable illness or injury, and a much great need for individualised management of symptoms and conditions. For people to live as well as possible despite long-term and terminal illnesses, integrated and whole-system care is required. We all need to be better equipped to offer patients honest conversations about what they can expect in the future, to give them choices and control over the remainder of their lives. This is not just about high-quality palliative care in the last weeks or days, but about holding conversations much earlier after diagnosis of a progressive or terminal condition, including frailty.
This report, by Dr Sarah-Jane Bailey and Kacey Cogle seeks to offer advice and support for any doctor to meet these challenges when caring for patients with a diagnosis of a serious, potentially life limiting illness. It highlights some of the barriers, and busts common myths that might hamper a successful conversation between doctor and patient. We have also collated a series of resources and best practice to aid doctors to develop and improve in confidence when discussing their patients’ preferences and values, as they approach end of life.
Read the full report here.