6 tips for facilitating end-of-life talks

A useful guide on navigating a difficult topic

Most patients expect their GP to initiate end-of-life discussions, according to palliative care experts, who say it's integral to the job

Dr Melissa Bloomer and Dr Heather Tan, from Monash University, suggest GPs initiate and normalise early discussions about end-of-life care by premising the discussion with, “I make a point of talking about this with all of my patients”, as a way of making it part of routine care.

Similarly, using scenarios such as “What would you want to happen to you if ...?” can help with decision-making, they say.

The acronym ‘PREPARED’ has been recommended as a guide to assist health professionals in facilitating end-of-life discussions.

1. Prepare for the discussion

  • Ensure you have confirmed results of investigations and received relevant reports, ensure uninterrupted time and arrange for those who need to be present.