End-of-Life Communication and Care: A Struggle Most Physicians Encounter

Just as it is difficult for many of us to talk about our ultimate death, it is also difficult for doctors to talk about this eventuality with their patients. Most doctors did not specialize in palliative or end-of-life care, yet they are often called upon to have these tough discussions with patients.

You can make it far easier for your doctor, and for your family, by making your wishes known and documenting your choices in a properly drafted Advance Medical Directive, along with naming the people you want making decisions for you if you cannot. And, by ensuring you have updated your plan to include HIPAA releases to ensure your loved ones can access your medical records, if necessary.

Earlier this year Medicare began reimbursing doctors who engage in conversations with their patients about end-of-life care and choices. It’s a significant improvement in patient care while providing a financial incentive for doctors to have these conversations. Thirty minutes is reimbursable at an $80 rate, and an additional $75 may be billed for a second 30-minutes.

Many, however, doubt that doctors are equipped to handle this responsibility. In fact, the Chief Academic Officer for the Association of American Medical Colleges doesn’t believe the “medical profession is totally up to speed and ready to have these conversations.”

Dr. Susan Block of the Serious Illness Care Program at Ariadne Labs agrees, explaining that “[t]his conversation is at the intersection of two topics that medical schools have by and large avoided—end-of-life care and communication.”

It is always hard to acknowledge our mortality but doing so can bring significant peace of mind. We are here to help, and make it easy for you to choose to do the right thing by the people you love, and by your doctors as well.

This article is a service of Jill Gregory Law, a Personal Family Lawyer® firm. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Life and Legacy Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by clicking the button above or calling our office today at 949-514-8842 or 530-581-5455, to schedule a free 15 Minute Phone Consult with Jill Gregory, or a full Planning Session today. Mention this article to find out how to get this $750 Life and Legacy Planning Session at no charge.

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