Talking With Health Care Professionals
 Communication with health care providers is one of the most important aspects of care at the end of life. Often these conversations are difficult for the terminally ill person, his or her provider and family members because it means sharing bad news that can be overwhelming and frightening. It is important to talk with the personal physician, but it might also be helpful to talk with other health care professionals. A person may want to learn as much as possible about his or her condition or only choose to know the general picture. It is always helpful to begin by asking the doctor to explain the clinical aspects of the disease. Understanding the typical progression of the condition will help a person to grasp what to anticipate in terms of what is happening , types of treatment, and the quality of life that can be expected. Try to bring a family member or friend along when you speak with the doctor. These people can help remember questions to ask and responses, which may be hard to recall when you are along. 

​Questions to Consider When Discussing Treatment Options:
What are the benefits of each treatment? 

What are the risks?
How can one expect to feel during treatments? 

What kinds of services (e.g., hospice) may be available to help me and my family? 

What quality of life can be expected as I become more dependent? 

​Will I be in pain? Treatment plans can be developed to help manage a person’s medical condition and to ensure comfort. The doctor should know the things that are important and give life meaning to you or to your loved one. This information is helpful in making decisions about the type of care that is provided. Express any fears and concerns that you may have, and let the doctor know if there is anything that you do not understand. Remember that a treatment plan can be changed at any time as a person’s condition changes. 

​Talking with heath care professionals is a process and it is recommended that you and your family develop a schedule of how frequently you have contact, with whom, and what to do when you have additional questions or concerns.