Be proactive and have a candid conversation.

Patients with a life-threatening illness, or their caregivers, should determine if the treatment plan being presented by their healthcare provider will interfere with the patient's goals and values. Hard questions must be asked.

Questions may include:

  • How far has the disease progressed?
  • What is the prognosis?
  • What are all the treatment options available?
  • What is the probability the treatment will be a success?
  • What is the impact of the treatment on the patient and caregiver?
  • What is the impact on quality of life during treatment? After treatment?
  • How can I avoid or relieve my symptoms?
  • How can I relieve pain?
  • What care options are available that focus on comfort?
  • Ultimately, healthcare decisions are personal. Consideration must be given to what is gained by treatment and at what cost.