The Art & Science of Prognostication Individual Track Catalog Page

The Art & Science of Prognostication

Individual Learning Track

The Art & Science of Prognostication

The importance of prognosis, goal-setting, and guiding patients through serious illness and the end-of-life journey

In the past when people were asked how they would like to die, almost all said, “In my sleep,” or at least in a sudden, unaware manner.  Many people now say they want to die at home, with symptoms controlled, family gathered around and able to say goodbye before dying.  For such a death to happen it must be anticipated, so that decisions can be made with goals clearly in mind.  The fear of death and discomfort discussing the taboo subject of mortality can cause hesitation. A physician’s lack of training, concern about “taking away hope,” and the reality of not being able to predict a specific time for a specific patient stands in the way of insightful prognostication.  This series challenges the assumptions learned in medical training and from society at large so that medical providers can enter into prognostic conversations with patients and families, a task that is fundamental to medicine and fundamentally a spiritual (though not necessarily religious) conversation.

Lesson One: DILEMMA OF PROGNOSIS

Understanding the challenges of prognosis in end-of-life care

Lesson Two: OPTIMISM & PESSIMISM

Sharing bad news in a way that supports individuals facing a grim prognosis

Lesson Three: MORTALITY & PROGNOSIS

Acknowledging how the fear of death affects our conscious and subconscious reactions

Lesson Four: WHY PROGNOSTICATE?

Asking the important questions and listening to patient needs

Lesson Five: PROGNOSIS & HOPE

Building skills in foreseeing and foretelling