Physicians guide to having end-of-life conversations

A doctor is standing in a hospital waiting room. There’s a black/dark purple circle around the doctor with shadowy outlines of people to convey the feeling of being overwhelmed with death. Above the doctor is a quote: "Doctors should be trained better when it comes to end of life. We need to improve our fluency in discussing emotions. We need to be okay with saying difficult words, like 'death' and 'dying.' " – Dr. Paloma Marin-Nevarez

Medical schools often provide insufficient training around death and dying. With the COVID-19 pandemic creating great need, this guide is meant to be a resource for physicians.

Physicians guide to having end-of-life conversations is a story from Reveal. Reveal is a registered trademark of The Center for Investigative Reporting and is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

A doctor is standing in a hospital waiting room. There’s a black/dark purple circle around the doctor with shadowy outlines of people to convey the feeling of being overwhelmed with death. Above the doctor is a quote: "Doctors should be trained better when it comes to end of life. We need to improve our fluency in discussing emotions. We need to be okay with saying difficult words, like 'death' and 'dying.' " – Dr. Paloma Marin-Nevarez
A doctor is standing in a hospital waiting room. There’s a black/dark purple circle around the doctor with shadowy outlines of people to convey the feeling of being overwhelmed with death. Above the doctor is a quote: "Doctors should be trained better when it comes to end of life. We need to improve our fluency in discussing emotions. We need to be okay with saying difficult words, like 'death' and 'dying.' " – Dr. Paloma Marin-Nevarez
Credit: Illustration by Molly Mendoza

Through our extensive reporting with medical professionals, we learned that many medical schools often provide insufficient training around death and dying. With the COVID-19 pandemic creating great need, this guide is meant to be a resource for physicians.

Download a printable PDF poster of this guide here.

The facts

Conversation guides

  • Looking for guides on having conversations that help patients and family members say goodbye? Here’s a list of resources.
  • Looking for steps on how to deliver a death notification? Try the GRIEV_ING mnemonic.
  • Want to practice having a conversation? Try this app.

Learn more

  • Have questions or want to share more? Reach us at @KHNews and @reveal.
  • Listen to our story that follows a new doctor dealing with death during the pandemic.

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Reveal Social Sharing Image

Physicians guide to having end-of-life conversations is a story from Reveal. Reveal is a registered trademark of The Center for Investigative Reporting and is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.


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David Rodriguez | Peace (2022-05-17T13:50:27+00:00) » Physicians guide to having end-of-life conversations. Retrieved from https://www.pea.cx/2021/03/04/physicians-guide-to-having-end-of-life-conversations/.
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" » Physicians guide to having end-of-life conversations." David Rodriguez | Peace [Online]. Available: https://www.pea.cx/2021/03/04/physicians-guide-to-having-end-of-life-conversations/. [Accessed: 2022-05-17T13:50:27+00:00]
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» Physicians guide to having end-of-life conversations | David Rodriguez | Peace | https://www.pea.cx/2021/03/04/physicians-guide-to-having-end-of-life-conversations/ | 2022-05-17T13:50:27+00:00
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