New study finds significant benefits tied to Serious Illness Conversation Guide

25 Mar 2019 | Advance Care Planning

A new US study has found significant benefits tied to the Serious Illness Care Program, as published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine and in JAMA Oncology this month.

The study shows the Serious Illness Conversation Guide improved serious illness conversations between patients and their oncology clinicians in the US. This led to significant reductions in emotional suffering for patients with advanced cancer.

The conversations were centered on what matters most to patients, with 90 percent of patients discussing goals and values. As a result, the proportion of patients with moderate to severe anxiety and depression was reduced by half, and the anxiety improvements were sustained for at least 24 weeks.

This study is the first to demonstrate meaningful improvement in patients’ mental health symptoms from serious illness conversations and addresses the most common barriers to communication in a US clinical setting.

Developed by Ariadne Labs, the guide is a set of structured questions drawn from best practices in basic palliative care. This serves as a framework for clinicians to explore topics that are crucial to gaining a full understanding about what is most important to patients. The guide has been adapted for use in Aōtearoa.

In association with the Choosing Wisely Forum, the Health Quality & Safety Commission is offering three-hour Serious Illness Conversation Guide training on Thursday 9 May. The training helps clinicians feel more confident to have quality conversations with seriously ill people.

For more information and to register, visit the Serious Illness Conversation Guide event page on our website. 

Links to publications (limited access):

Last updated 27/03/2019