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Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2013 Sep 11. [Epub ahead of print]

The Family Conference in Palliative Medicine: A Practical Approach.

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  • 11Department of Solid Tumor Oncology, Cleveland Clinic, Taussig Cancer Institute, OH, USA.


A family conference (FC) is an opportunity for the family and their physician to share their knowledge and concerns about the physical and psychosocial dimensions of care. Appropriate communication principles and practice are both important for an effective FC. The FCs guided by common sense principles and sound clinical practice (good structure, content, and process) have beneficial outcomes. (1) Creation of a therapeutic partnership so the family and medical team collaborate in the difficult task of sophisticated medical and psychosocial care of a complex illness. (2) Enhanced therapeutic management through education and support of the patient and primary caregiver (and other family members) to facilitate self-efficacy and convey realistic hope with careful sequencing of key messages. (3) Easier patient transitions from cure- to care-oriented management, with a formal (yet thoughtful and gentle) introduction to the principles and practice of modern palliative medicine.


communication; cure to care transition; decision making; family; palliative; supportive

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