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  • Introduction
  • 1. Advance Care Planning
  • 2. Communicating Bad News
  • 3. Whole Patient Assessment
  • 4. Pain Management
  • 5. Assisted Suicide Debate
  • 6. Anxiety, Delirium
  • 7. Goals of Care
  • 8. Sudden Illness
  • 9. Medical Futility
  • 10. Common Symptoms
  • 11. Withholding Treatment
  • 12. Last Hours of Living
  • 13. Cultural Issues
  • 14. Religion, Spirituality
  • 15. Legal Issues
  • 16. Social and Psychological
  • More About:

  • Hospice Care
  • Clergy and Faith Communities
  • Additional Links
    Site Index
    Back to Module 3: Whole-Patient Assessment
    Introduction to Whole-Patient Assessment

    Goals of Assessment in End-of-Life Care
    The Physician's Role in Whole-Patient Assessment
    Objectives of this Module

    Goals of Assessment in End-of-Life Care

    • Patient assessment in end-of-life care differs from other clinical assessments in that its goal is to permit the relief of suffering
    • Effective implementation of management strategies to relieve suffering in end-of-life care must be based on a comprehensive assessment of the whole patient
    • Assessment must recognize that patients’ experience (and parents’ experience if the patient is a child) of illness is multi-dimensional


    The Physician's Role in Whole-Patient Assessment

    • Care for the whole patient, not just the disease
      • Listen to the history
      • Acknowledge the patient’s experience
      • Analyze the causes of suffering
    • Offer information and practical advice -- the physician's role includes aspects of:
      • Teaching
      • Friendship
    • Introduce sources of support
      • Promote the role of patient advocate

      • Members of the interdisciplinary team (such as nurses, social workers, chaplains, child life specialists, and others) along with the family will share the responsibilities of patient advocacy and implement the treatment plan

      • The physician need not, and should not, bear this responsibility alone


    Objectives of this Module

    The objectives of this module are to identify and know how to assess the areas of:

    • Illness/treatment summary
    • Physical
    • Psychological
    • Decision-making
    • Communication and information sharing
    • Social
    • Spiritual
    • Practical needs
    • Anticipatory planning for death
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