Advance Directives Help Patients Stay in Control of Their Healthcare

August 23, 2022

ISMIE offers guidance for physicians with these difficult conversations

Advance directives can be daunting and complicated to talk about. But they are an important element of safe and respectful patient care. These documents can help physicians better understand and adhere to a patient’s wishes, especially when the patient may no longer be able to communicate their preferences.
ISMIE’s resource on advance directives highlights the importance of having these documents in place, as life-altering events can happen at any time. It also offers some guidance on mitigating risk, including:
  • Initiate the discussion: Approach this sensitive topic with empathy. Some patients have never thought about advance directives, while others may have been putting it off. As the healthcare expert, you can discuss the importance of having an advance directive.

  • Document: Make a note of any conversations you have with the patient about this topic in their medical record. Include any actual plans or documents that the patient gives you and the medical intervention desired. Remember, this should not be a one-time conversation; be sure to update the information as necessary.
ISMIE also offers an on-demand course on Advance Care Planning and End-of-Life Decision Making which offers case examples and strategies for the discussion with patients.
Encourage your patients to discuss these matters not only with you, but also with their family members and caregivers. By emphasizing that advance directives are a way for the patient to stay in control of their own healthcare, you may ease their worries and help them have a more comfortable discussion with their loved ones.
If you have questions, please contact the Risk Management Division by email
Share this article:

Cookie Consent

Cookies are required for some functionality on our site. View our privacy policy for more information.