Serious Illness Conversation Guide

Activity description

Conversations that provide patients who have serious and life-threatening illnesses with the opportunity to make informed choices reflecting their goals, values and care preferences are a critical part of their care. These discussions can help ensure that seriously ill patients receive care that is consistent with their wishes and provide guidance to enhance family well-being and improve the patient’s quality of life. This series has been developed to help guide and facilitate these important conversations and includes tools drawn from evidence-based practices in palliative care to assist health care professionals (HCPs) in identifying appropriate patients with whom to initiate a conversation. The importance of documentation and follow up, as well as how to incorporate these discussions into the daily workflow, will also be reviewed.

Provided by
This activity is provided by OptumHealth Education.

Commercial support
This activity is supported by OptumCare.

Hardware/software requirements
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Target Audience

This activity is designed to meet the educational needs of case managers, nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, PAs and other HCPs who have an interest in learning how to communicate effectively with individuals with serious and life-threatening illnesses.

Learning Objectives

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

  • State the importance of a timely and systematic approach to having optimal conversations with individuals who are seriously ill about their values and priorities.
  • Recognize the impact of effective serious illness conversations on improved quality of life, enhanced goal-concordant care, positive family outcomes and reduced costs.
  • Identify the steps and best practices for having serious illness conversations and learning patient care goals.
  • State ways in which to measure the impact and success of serious illness conversations.
  • State the importance of routinely addressing patients' nonmedical goals and providing patients with sufficient information on their prognosis to allow them to make decisions that are consistent with their goals.
Activity summary
Available credit: 
  • 2.00 AMA
  • 2.00 ANCC
  • 2.00 Attendance
  • 2.00 CCMC - General
Activity opens: 
Activity expires: 

Sarah Chart, RN
Senior Director
OptumHealth Education

Rebecca Gleason, RN, CCM
Activity Manager
OptumHealth Education

Kevin S. Henning, MD, FAAFP, FAAHPM
Medical Director
Tania M. Miedico, MD
Medical Director
Clinical Performance, OptumCare

Meg Silberschein
Associate Director of Clinical Education
Clinical Performance, OptumCare

Denise Stahl, RN, MSN, FPCN
Vice President, Palliative and Supportive Care
Clinical Performance, OptumCare

Disclosures of relevant financial relationships
In accordance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial SupportSM, OptumHealth Education (OHE) 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 his/her spouse/partner) has a financial relationship in any amount occurring in the last 12 months with a commercial interest. OHE ensures that the content is independent of commercial bias.

Ms. Chart and Ms. Gleason have indicated that they are employees of and own stock in UnitedHealth Group.

The remaining activity faculty or planners have no financial relationships to disclose.

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

Accreditation statement
Joint Accreditation LogoIn support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by OptumHealth Education and UnitedHealthcare. OptumHealth Education is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Credit designation statements
The participant will be awarded up to 2.00 contact hour(s) of credit for attendance and completion of supplemental materials.

Nurse practitioners
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) accepts credit from organizations accredited by the ACCME and ANCC.

OptumHealth Education designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 2.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) accepts credit from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Case managers
The Commission for Case Manager Certification has approved this program for a maximum of 2.00 clock hour(s) for Certified Case Managers (CCM).

A certificate of attendance will be provided to learners upon completion of activity requirements, enabling participants to register with licensing boards or associations that have not been preapproved for credits. To apply for credit types not listed above, participants should use the procedure established by the specific organization from which they wish to obtain credit.

Available Credit

  • 2.00 AMA
  • 2.00 ANCC
  • 2.00 Attendance
  • 2.00 CCMC - General
Please login to register.

You must be logged into your account to participate in this activity. Get started by clicking "Continue" 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. A complete listing of all of your activities can be found under "My Account," "My Activities."

Please note, if you are accessing this activity from a UHG/Optum computer using Internet Explorer and have difficulty, please use Chrome and/or Firefox. Be sure to disable any pop-up blocking software prior to beginning this activity.