Beth Eaby-Sandy, MSN, CRNP of University of Pennsylvania talks about the serious illness conversation guides and how they can be helpful in creating mutual doctor / patient goals. In the University of Pennsylvania where Dr. Eaby-Sandy worked, they are doing data training or role-model training using the guide for patients. The guide is just a list of questions that will be asked to patients. Some of the questions like, Is it okay with you if we talk about your illness today?, May I share my understanding of where we are in your disease process?, Can you share your understanding of where you are in your cancer right now?, and stuffs like that.
In this way doctors can build up a very tailor-fitted treatment plan or give proper advice to patients based on their understanding of their disease and what should be done in the clinical standpoint. So, if the patient has Stage 4 cancer and they think that in the next three months they will be cured and be done with their treatment, as doctors, its important to set their expectations well. In this case, as a clinician, its very important to be honest to patients, in a nice and modest way, and explain the reality of the disease they have. The guides are proven helpful to guide patients on what their goals are, as well as their understanding of their disease.