Speaking to patients about death isn’t easy for doctorsThere is need for doctors to check the preparedness of a patient to converse in topics that concern death. The method used should allow both parties to interact amicable without any strain or tension in between them. The idea of telling people that they need to plan about their death is hard, but can be made easy by the approach method used to relay the message. A Canadian research has reported that utilizing certain rules can help ease tension and make it easier for the patient to gain acceptance.

The first thing the doctor is required to do is affirm the situation after identifying the patient at risk of death. According to John J. You, MD, Msc, from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario the above step should be followed up by a brief conversation with the family members. He and his colleagues had their findings published online by CMJA

Discussing end-of-life decisions

John and his colleagues came up with an algorithm based on several published papers on how one should talk about end of life results. They recommended that one should start by an examination which includes questioning themselves, i.e. if they were surprised if the patient made it past one year. The answer to this will determine whether or not the patient is near death.

The doctors need to then examine the level of preparedness of the patient to receive such news. They can ask them if they’ve ever been given the talk by another doctor person that is close to them and what they think about it.

Exchanging information with patients

A lot of the information often gathered by doctors is meant to be private and confidential. There is always the option to breach such rules if there is dire need for the patient to know about their situation. There are vital guidelines that one can use to make it easier.

The first thing that one needs to do is make the patient aware of all possible risks involved. This includes death. It’s also extremely important that they are advised on all the options that are available for them and those that are mostly viable. Telling the patient of a prognosis is also recommended as this will give them an idea of their life expectancy. Bring out the person desires, values and perception with respect. Finally, it’s good to have their wishes written down and paper and signed by them. This will help the doctor avoid any legal issues should there be problems in the future.

Use of CPR in some cases is considered a very sick procedure considering all the activities involved such as sticking a tube down one’s throat. It is also known to bring about prolonged suffering to a patient who is still going to die eventually. The process of decision making between patient and doctor is something that is being advocated by organizations such as ACCM (American College of Critical Care Medicine).