Items in AFP with MESH term: Terminally Ill
ABSTRACT: Grief and depression present similarly in patients who are dying. Conventional symptoms (e.g., frequent crying, weight loss, thoughts of death) used to assess for depression in these patients may be imprecise because these symptoms are also present in preparatory grief and as a part of the normal dying process. Preparatory grief is experienced by virtually all patients who are dying and can be facilitated with psychosocial support and counseling. Ongoing pharmacotherapy is generally not beneficial and may even be harmful to patients who are grieving. Evidence of disturbed self-esteem, hopelessness, an active desire to die and ruminative thoughts about death and suicide are indicative of depression in patients who are dying. Physicians should have a low threshold for treating depression in patients nearing the end of life because depression is associated with tremendous suffering and poor quality of life.
Breaking Bad News - Article
ABSTRACT: Breaking bad news is one of a physician's most difficult duties, yet medical education typically offers little formal preparation for this daunting task. Without proper training, the discomfort and uncertainty associated with breaking bad news may lead physicians to emotionally disengage from patients. Numerous study results show that patients generally desire frank and empathetic disclosure of a terminal diagnosis or other bad news. Focused training in communication skills and techniques to facilitate breaking bad news has been demonstrated to improve patient satisfaction and physician comfort. Physicians can build on the following simple mnemonic, ABCDE, to provide hope and healing to patients receiving bad news: Advance preparation--arrange adequate time and privacy, confirm medical facts, review relevant clinical data, and emotionally prepare for the encounter. Building a therapeutic relationship-identify patient preferences regarding the disclosure of bad news. Communicating well-determine the patient's knowledge and understanding of the situation, proceed at the patient's pace, avoid medical jargon or euphemisms, allow for silence and tears, and answer questions. Dealing with patient and family reactions-assess and respond to emotional reactions and empathize with the patient. Encouraging/validating emotions--offer realistic hope based on the patient's goals and deal with your own needs.
ABSTRACT: Because advance directives are not yet the norm, end-of-life decisions for patients without medical decision-making capacity are made regularly within discussions between the patient's physician and family. Communication and decision making in these situations require a complex integration of relevant conceptual knowledge of ethical implications, the principle of surrogate decision making, and legal considerations; and communication skills that address the highly charged emotional issues under discussion. The most common pitfalls in establishing plans of care for patients who lack decision-making capacity include failure to reach a shared appreciation of the patient's condition and prognosis; failure to apply the principle of substituted judgment; offering the choice between care and no care, rather than offering the choice between prolonging life and quality of life; too literal an interpretation of an isolated, out-of-context, patient statement made earlier in life; and failure to address the full range of end-of-life decisions from do-not-resuscitate orders to exclusive palliative care.
End-of-Life Care - Editorials
Determining Prognosis for Patients with Terminal Cancer - Point-of-Care Guides
Determining Prognoses for Patients with Terminal Illnesses - Curbside Consultation
Discussing Terminal Illness with a Patient - Curbside Consultation
Understanding Anger in Parents of Dying Children - Curbside Consultation
Approaching a Terminally Ill Patient in Denial - Curbside Consultation