Another important book about the way we handle end-of-life in America has just been published. The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan For End-Of-Life Care by Dr. Angelo Volandes presents useful guidance for patients, families and doctors regarding difficult conversations about the best practices for end-of-life treatment.
In the book, Dr. Volandes offers actual sample scripts that illustrate the right ways to address these tough questions.
“Despite billions of dollars in new technologies in America’s finest hospitals,” he writes, “the most important intervention in medicine today happens to be its least technological: timely and comprehensive discussions with patients as they near death.”
Volandes tells stories of several patients and how they chose to handle the approaching end of their lives. Every story is different but each has the common element of a conversation to determine what is really important to the patient.
He is not the first doctor to point out that many in his own profession have shortcomings in communication. He writes: “When it comes to talking with patients about end-of-life care, doctors rarely acknowledge the skill and practice needed to perform one of the hardest ‘procedures’ of all: having The Conversation with patients and families. Unfortunately this short-sightedness results in patients’ lives that end with bad deaths.”
If The Conversation leads patients, families and, especially, doctors to talk more openly about these issues, Dr. Volandes will have scored a major accomplishment. One of the book’s stated goals is to embolden patients to ask questions when doctors do not initiate the conversation. He encourages doctors to become catalysts of change.
We applaud Dr. Volandes for writing this book. Take a moment to view his video which he talks about the book.
For answers to your questions about hospice care in St. Louis, please call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.