S - Support and summarize

This is your opportunity to answer any questions posed by the patient and to offer clarification.  You should offer the explanation in language the patient can understand and address the issues from the patient’s perspective.  You can provide explanations simply and honestly, avoiding excessive bluntness.  You should give information in chunks and check that the patient has understood you. You can offer any support systems that are available (clergy, social work).  When discussing conditions with a poor prognosis,  avoid statements like “There is nothing more we can do for you” as goals in care will change to symptom relief and good pain control, both of which are possible.  When you are comfortable that the patient does not have any more questions, you can excuse yourself from the room, but leave a nurse or social worker with the patient and explain that you will be available if other questions arise.   Often patients who have to deal with a death are concerned about what to do next.  You can reassure them that if they contact a funeral home, the funeral home will take care of all the details.