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Serious Illness Conversation Guide

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January Messenger 2022 | Posted January 20, 2022
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Seriously ill patients need early discussions about goals for their care to prepare them for an uncertain future. Earlier care planning improves goal concordant care, reduces anxiety for families and caregivers, improves access to hospice care and reduces unwanted invasive care (Bernacki, JAMA, 2014).

The Serious Illness Conversation Guide is designed to help patients understand their illness, its natural course and the impact of proposed treatments, as well as to build physician awareness and acceptance of what matters most to their patient.

For resources on advance care planning and goals of care designations in Alberta, please go to

For an introduction to the Serious Illness Conversation Guide from the creators of the guide at Ariadne Labs, please check out this video: Part 1: Serious Illness Communication – An Introduction – YouTube (11:28 min).

The full Serious Illness Conversation Guide course is currently being offered via Zoom and has been certified by the College of Family Physicians for up to 7.0 Mainpro+ credits. To register, please email (North Zone) or (South Zone).



Bernacki RE, Block SD, for the American College of Physicians High Value Care Task Force. Communication About Serious Illness Care Goals: A Review and Synthesis of Best Practices. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(12):1994–2003. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.5271

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