The Heart of Palliative Care: How to Talk About Patients' Concerns and Goals Near End of Life

Physicians and healthcare professionals take the Hippocratic Oath, swearing to practice medicine honestly and to “never do harm to anyone.” However, healthcare professionals are often faced with truth-telling dilemmas when communicating with dying patients about their diagnosis, treatment choices, and possible prognosis. Failure to communicate the truth is done with the good intention of protecting the dying from knowing about their impending death. It is best to employ a team approach, with each member sharing the responsibility of communicating with the dying. This session will focus on truth-telling communication skills along with providing desired outcomes from the use of a communication framework approach with patients and family members.

Learning Objectives
At the end of this educational activity, participants should be able to

  1. Recognize when to begin an end of life care conversation and how to apply truth-telling communication skills during these difficult discussions with patients and family members
  2. Identify a communication framework for discussing end of life care with patients and acknowledge the importance of patient involvement in creating a treatment alliance and plan
  3. State whether there has been shown to be an improvement in patient satisfaction or patient grieving process with the use of a truth-telling communication approach

Method of Participation
There are no fees for participating in or receiving credit for this activity.
For information on applicability and acceptance of continuing education credit for this activity, please consult your professional licensing board.

Participants will receive a certificate on successful completion of the activity, which includes the following:

  • Completing the entire activity
  • Completing the Pre- and Post-Activity Assessments, Activity Evaluation, and Application for Certificate of Credit forms

You must be logged in to your account to participate in this activity. Start by clicking “Begin” and clicking on and viewing the CE Info; then follow the prompts at the bottom of the screen. At the end of the activity, you will be able to view, save, or print your certificate of participation. The Area of Practice you indicated in your profile corresponds with your certificate type. A complete listing of all of your activities can be found in your profile.

Method for Calculating CE Credit
CE credit was calculated by the complexity of content.

Faculty Listing
Sharon M. Weinstein MD, FAAHPM
Professor of Anesthesiology
Adjunct Associate Professor of Neurology & Internal Medicine (Oncology)
University of Utah
Senior Consultant, Supportive Oncology
Huntsman Cancer Institute
Chief, Holistic Medicine
VA Salt Lake City Health Care System
Salt Lake City, UT 

Faculty Disclosure
As a provider accredited by the ACCME, OptumHealth Education requires the disclosure of any relevant financial relationship a faculty member has with the manufacturer(s) of any product discussed in this educational presentation.
Dr Weinstein has no financial relationships to disclose.
Dr Weinstein does not intend to discuss unapproved/investigative use of commercial products/devices.

Activity Planners
Sarah Chart-Hart, RN
Senior Activity Director
OptumHealth Education

Arlene Rome, BSN, RN
Activity Manager
OptumHealth Education

All of the planners reported that they are employees of and own stock in UnitedHealth Group.

Provided By
This activity is provided by OptumHealth Education.

Commercial Support
This activity is supported by Optum Palliative and Hospice Care, formerly Evercare Hospice & Palliative Care.

Hardware/Software Requirements
To view this activity you will need Internet Explorer 7.0+ or Firefox 3.0+ with Windows Media Player 9+, RealPlayer 12+, or Adobe Flash Player 9+. Be sure to disable your pop-up blocking software.

Target Audience

This activity is designed to meet the educational needs of physicians, nurses, case managers, social workers, and others who have an interest in topics relevant to end of life care.

You must be logged into your account to participate in this activity. Once logged in, begin by clicking “Begin” and viewing the "CE Info"; then follow the prompts at the bottom of the screen.

Activity summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 AMA - Physicians
  • 1.00 ANCC - Nurses
  • 1.00 Attendance - General Attendance
  • 1.00 CCMC - General - Case Managers
  • 1.00 ASWB - Social Workers
Activity opens: 
Activity expires: 

Available Credit

  • 1.00 AMA - Physicians
  • 1.00 ANCC - Nurses
  • 1.00 Attendance - General Attendance
  • 1.00 CCMC - General - Case Managers
  • 1.00 ASWB - Social Workers
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