July 31, 2018 – Choosing a Doctor


Anchor lead: If you’re confronting end of life issues, a frank discussion with your physician is needed, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Depending on the physician, many more interventions may be used at the end of life, a recent study found, and this was based on a physician’s comfort level with end of life care. So if you or a loved one is facing end of life issues, what can you do to get care that reflects your goals? Rab Razzak, a palliative care expert at Johns Hopkins, says start with a frank discussion with your provider.

Razzak: When you recognize that someone’s having a hard time having these difficult discussions say I’d like to see the palliative care team. Asking for palliative care in advanced cancer is going to be really important. The other thing to say is these are my important goals. I’d like for you to help me achieve some of these goals. Can you? Or can I speak to someone else to help me get to these goals. That could be making sure my symptoms are controlled so I’m not short of breath, making sure I have the support at home, if someone’s prognosis is 6 months or less then that could be hospice.  :31

Razzak urges every patient to remember that the ultimate decision making power is theirs. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.