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Brigham and Women's Hospital - Ariadne Labs
Palliative Care
Date Approved

Serious illness conversations honor the values and priorities of patients, establish trusting therapeutic relationships, and offer tailored anticipatory guidance. Although clinicians and patients agree these are critical, they occur infrequently, too late, are too focused on medical treatments and not focused enough on what matters to the patient. This is particularly true in communities affected by historic, systemic, and current racism.

We’ve heard from clinicians working in such communities that it can be hard to engage patients and their family/caregivers in serious illness conversations, that many are not prepared. But we’ve also heard from their patients who had completed the What Matters to Me Workbook, which prepared them to talk to their clinicians. They shared that they were hesitant to share their goals, values, and priorities with clinicians, not wanting to overstep.

Therefore, we now aim to build a prototype solution that will facilitate connection between prepared clinicians and prepared patients. By working with community stakeholders to identify barriers, concerns, and hesitations from both sides and getting their ideas about how to overcome them, we will develop a solution that facilitates more, earlier, and better serious illness conversations.