Mission: To redefine the medical encounter; to recognize the differences between the language of medicine and the language of the patient's world transformed by illness, to acknowledge the patient's voice as a cornerstone of best care, to bridge the communication between doctor and patient, and in so doing, improve quality of care.
Programs: Patient education programs:difficult conversations toolkit: the difficult conversations video and workbook are components of a toolkit that help patients with serious illness better understand and communicate their needs and goals to doctors and nurses. The toolkit has been used in a pilot study with 10 patients at the va hospital in vermont and introduced by oncologists at md anderson (houston tx) and massachusetts general hospital (boston, ma) to select patients to help refine the workbook prior to distribution. A pilot program has been implemented at rutland regional medical center's cancer center and in-patient palliative care service. Southwestern vermont cancer center is offering the toolkit to patients and families. A program at the stowe weekend of hope for patients and families introduced the difficult conversations workbook as a tool to identify needs, preferences and goals for end of life care planning. There were 30 participants. Surveys showed that the program was very well received.
education and training programs for medical professionals- voices from the lived world of illness includes a film and medical education guide. It continues to be used at medical institutions and conferences for education/training of physicians, nurses, social workers and hospice staff. Approximately 1200 medical professionals have participated in programs since it's release in 2005. Men do talk is a toolkit that includes a film and workbook. It offers perspectives of prostate cancer patients and has been used for education/training of physicians, nurses and social workers. Approximately 200 medical professionals have participated in programs since its release in 2008. Difficult conversations toolkit is an interactive tool that includes a video and workbook. It offers the perspectives of patients with incurable cancer and has been used for end of life education programs for physicians, nurses and social workers. In addition, the toolkit has been used for programs to educate the community on how to prepare for conversations with health care providers. In-service educational programs on the use of the difficult conversations communication tool were offered at the dartmouth hitchcock cancer center (manchester, nh, md anderson cancer center (houston, tx),springfield (vt) cancer center, southwestern vermont medical center and brattleboro memorial hospital. The programs were attended by 200 physicians and nurses.
writing is good medicine program-this program prescribes the pen as a tool that helps patients better understand their physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs. The program helps to empower patients to clarify and communicate their needs and goals in the planning of care. Approximately, 50 patients participated in workshops.
community education programs- "good communication is good medicine" programs educate the public about the key role of communication in improving quality of healthcare delivery and increasing patient satisfaction. The program format includes viewing films of actual patients sharing their experiences and panel discussions with experts. Audience participation is encouraged. Approximately 75 people attended the programs.
speaksooner initiative: a new community education initiative to help patients and families identify concerns and prepare to ask questions about risks and benefits of treatment options, quality of life considerations and supportive care resources, increasing engagement in decisions about care--beginning sooner in the course of illness. A facilitator's guide is being developed to train physicians, nurses, social workers, clergy and educators to lead workshops on the use of the difficult conversations toolkit in community settings, i. E. Primary care clinics, senior housing, churches, etc. These educational programs will increase outreach to a population of those who are aging and/or facing serious illness. A pilot study will be implemented to evaluate the effectiveness of the speaksooner intervention.
medical humanist program- the consultation service educates patients and families about how to effectively communicate with medical professionals. Participants learn how to document their needs and concerns in preparation for addressing these issues at medical office visits. Approximately 20 patients/family have participated in the program.
new website speaksooner. Org: a new website featuring the difficult conversations initiative. The difficult conversations workbook & video is available on the site for completing writing exercises and download for office visits. The website also offers patients, loved ones and health care professionals a portal to share their views and experiences about end of life care. Speaksooner. Org places an emphasis on empowering patients to open conversations with doctors and nurses about their needs, concerns and goals for care. Avoidance of talking sooner about prognosis can lead to unmet needs, unnecessary suffering and regrets. The website serves as a platform to educate a wider audience and offer resources to support of all of those impacted by illness.