CAFP’s newest initiative, End-of-Life Conversations, is an education and outreach program focused on integrating end-of-life, advanced care planning and palliative care into family medicine and primary care practices. Our goal is to increase family physicians’ and FM teams’ familiarity with advance care planning and palliative care services and with conversations around prognosis. Working with a diverse task force of family and internal medicine physicians, and our End-of-Life Task Force, we have created a wide array of educational activities to support individual physicians, physicians’ teams and offices and physician-patient conversations. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, concerns, suggestions and more.
Family physicians are the best physicians to enter into end of life conversations with patients and their families. These conversations, however, are often difficult and require a certain level of comfort to be effective. With the help of CAFP’s End-of-Life Task Force, an extensive needs assessment and targeted interviews, a wide array of educational activities are now available. These include live workshops on advanced directives, an instructional monograph guiding physicians on how to implement palliative care services into their practice, an ABFM Part IV performance improvement project and sessions on shared decision making.
Voices of Family Physicians
Ease the difficult conversations around prognosis and end-of-life care by listening to fellow family physicians’ stories about what it is like to have the conversation. You can learn from your colleagues how to communicate effectively and compassionately with patients about their treatment options, including possible medical interventions and palliative care. CAFP is dedicated to ensuring that both family physicians and patients feel comfortable discussing these difficult topics and hopes to continue to gather physician voices. We're pleased to announce the availability of a new podcast focused on end-of-life care and conversations: The Talk. The Talk, produced by Deirdre Kennedy, features family physicians, palliative care specialists, an ethicist and others describing their experiences with patients at the end-of-life.
End-of-Life Option Act
On June 9 the End of Life Option Act, signed by Governor Jerry Brown October 5, 2015 goes into effect. The Act authorizes a terminally ill adult, who meets particular qualifications, to request and receive a drug for the purpose of ending his or her life. It also establishes specific procedures for patients making the request, for physicians agreeing to prescribe aid-in-dying drugs and for physicians, groups and health care systems choosing to opt out. As this is now law, CAFP encourages you to familiarize yourself with the different components of the law and its requirements.
Tools and Resources
Along with CAFP’s End-of-Life Conversations initiative, we have found a myriad of resources available to help family physicians comfortably and openly enter into such conversations. No one approach will fully prepare you and your team for these conversations, but we encourage you to find the tool most useful to your community in CAFP’s list of references.