Physicians Are Ready! Are you?

Original publishing date: 2016
Publisher: Today’s Geriatric Medicine.
Author: Jamie Santa Cruz, (Freelance writer based in Englewood, Colorado).

Institutions need to recognise and react appropriately to adequately address what their healthcare employees have expressed a clear need for. The healthcare system and its participants are under undue stress if this is not handled well.

“But while physicians theoretically recognize the value of end-of-life care conversations, there is a gap between their beliefs and their practice”

At present, institutions do have benefits for healthcare professionals engaging in end-of-life discussions with patients. However, these incentives are not working and clearly only incentives are inadequate. Physicians have expressed willingness towards learning how to have end-of-life conversations with their patients, however, institutions lack appropriate programmes to impart that knowledge.

“About two-thirds of physicians in the new survey said they have never received any training specifically on how to conduct such discussions.”

Physicians are most aware of the medical condition of the patients and hence can carry out end of life conversations better than others. If institutions provide appropriate training, they can enable utilization of their potential.

Being able to have end of life discussions requires training more than incentives. The motivation among physicians to make their patients experience better care is directionless because of the lack of training, this needs to be changed. The article underlines several obstacles that prevent physicians from helping their patients approaching death, however, only bringing these issues forward is not enough.

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