The Wall Street Journal: The Conversation Project, a public engagement campaign dedicated to helping families discuss their wishes regarding end-of-life care, today released How to Talk to Your Doctor. Developed as a companion to the original Conversation Starter Kit created to initiate these difficult conversations with families and loved ones at home, How to Talk to Your Doctor offers a framework for the next logical step in having end-of-life conversations — in this case, with health care professionals.
“How to Talk to Your Doctor addresses a critical need from both the patient and physician sides of the health care community,” said Jessica McCannon, M.D., Pulmonary and Critical Care Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital. “As health care providers, it is our responsibility to recommend the best course of action for each patient based on our expertise and the patient’s specific wishes. In the case of end-of-life care, many times these wishes are not expressed or shared with physicians, leaving families in positions of distress and confusion. Time and time again, when end-of-life wishes are expressed, we have the privilege of offering our medical advice with the added benefit of knowing what the patient wants all the way through to the end.”