Nearing End of Life: Effective and Compassionate Communication Strategies

End-of-life conversations with patients and family members are often difficult and highly emotional.
Often, healthcare professionals have the best of intentions to communicate “bad news” to dying patients and to respond to emotion and yet may not be equipped with the communication skills to do so effectively. Skilled communication between healthcare professionals, patients, and family members is essential for providing the best possible care at the end-of-life. Healthcare professionals need to be equipped with skills to help them effectively communicate, along with the ability to verbalize empathy. Critical skills include listening to what is being said and responding to emotion. The dying patient and family members will have many questions that may be interlaced with confusion, fear, sadness, and the unknown of the disease process. This activity will review the challenges healthcare professionals are confronted with while dealing with end-of-life conversations, and how to employ effective and compassionate communication strategies.

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

  1. Summarize the challenges healthcare professionals are confronted with when dealing with end-of-life communications with patients, family members, and caregivers
  2. Demonstrate strategies and communication frameworks that employ effective and compassionate end-of-life conversations between healthcare providers, patients, family members, and caregivers
  3. Describe how effective communication strategies may benefit patients and families as they experience illness, dying, and the grieving process

Faculty Listing
Elizabeth Lindenberger, MD
Program Director, Palliative Medicine Fellowship
Education Director, Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute
Assistant Professor, Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, New York

Disclosures of Relevant Financial Relationships
In accordance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial SupportSM, OptumHealth Education requires all those involved in the development of activity content to disclose their relevant financial relationships. An individual has a relevant financial relationship if such person (or their spouse/partner) has a financial relationship in any amount occurring in the last 12 months with a commercial interest whose products or services are discussed in the activity content over which the individual has control.
OptumHealth Education ensures that the content is independent of commercial bias.

Faculty Disclosure
Elizabeth Lindenberger, MD has indicated that she has no relevant financial relationships.

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

Arlene Rome, RN, BSN
Activity Manager
OptumHealth Education

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

Reviewer Disclosures
To ensure fair balance and avoid bias, the content for this activity has been reviewed by an independent medical expert with no relevant financial relationships.

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 upon 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 into your account to participate in this activity. Get started by clicking “Begin” 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 under “My Account”, “My Activities.”

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

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
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Target Audience

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

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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