Helping your patient feel in control through effective communication in palliative care


San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2017

San Antonio, Texas, United States | December 05-09, 2017


Palliative care is an important tool in helping your patient overcome the stress associated with dealing with their disease and symptoms. Unfortunately, however, there is a deficiency in palliative care personnel, and so it is up to the oncologist to fill that gap.


Thomas J. Smith, MD, FACP, FASCO, FAAHPM, professor of oncology and director of palliative medicine, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, shares some insight on how to ensure ease of transition to end of life care, as well as effective communication between you, your patient, and their families.


One thing you can do to help your patients is acknowledge the burden, and have a more patient-centric approach to care. You can ask your patient how she’s coping, “and then physically turning to look at the family and say, ‘you know, mom’s really sick. How are you coping with mom being really sick?”


When your patient’s disease progresses it’s also important to ask “how do you like to get medical information? Are you the sort of person who wants to know all the details? What is your understanding of this situation?”