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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
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    Site Index
    Back to Module 3: Whole-Patient Assessment
    Why Assessment Skills are Important

    Why Assessment Skills are Important

    • Patients expect relief of suffering. This is as fundamental to the goals of medicine as cure or control of disease
    • Assessment is key diagnostic tool to assess each dimension of suffering
    • Assessment coordinates the team of health professionals
      • Because the physician is the one who coordinates and directs care, it is important that the physician be able to assess each dimension of suffering

      • However, the physician is unlikely to elicit a complete assessment working alone

      • Other members of the health care team (such as nurses, social workers, and chaplains) can conduct important components of this assessment

        • They bring unique skills to the task

        • They may learn important information that the patient or family may not have shared with the physician
    • Assessment can have therapeutic effects
      • The physician can discuss with the patient or proxy the meaning of the information and his or her assessment of the patient’s situation

      • This can help convey information to the patient regarding prognosis and the need for advance planning and personal preparation, particularly in the setting of overall deterioration

      • Of equal importance, it conveys compassion

      • It initiates the physician’s therapeutic role
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