Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Your Truth: Cost of Dying Conversation

There are a multitude of interactions I have with patients about their mortality. Some interactions are more stricken with ethical dilemmas. Some are more challenging emotionally. I am using the following scenario to discuss communication techniques as opposed to the ethical dilemmas presented in most of the prior scenarios in this series.

As with all of the other scenarios, please ponder over this one and share your thoughts on how you might handle it. Once I hear from you, I will post my response in a similar circumstance.

Ms. Lam was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive type of lung cancer and was told that she has only a few months to live. During your visit with her, somewhat out of the blue, she says, "Do you know how much it costs to buy a plot to be buried in?"

Do you (pick as many as you want):

a) Say, "No. I don't know. How much?"
b) Offer alternatives to burial, such as cremation, that may save her money.
c) Ask her leading questions, seeing this comment as an opening for her to discuss her feelings about the fact that she's dying.
d) Sit down and listen to see where she takes the conversation.
e) Other

No comments: