Communication In the Age of COVID

Communication skills are critical under normal circumstances, but now we are faced with constraining situations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  How do you comfort the family member of a dying patient who can’t be by their side? Clinicians on the frontline need to communicate with COVID-19 patients and their families, but they don’t always know […]

VitalTalk Faculty named as AAHPM Fellows

Congratulations to the group of VitalTalk Faculty who were just named to Fellow of the Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (FAAHPM), the academy’s highest honor.    They are leaders in our community and in the Palliative Medicine field.   We want to recognize these faculty for this great accomplishment:  Joel Bauman, MD  Colleen Brown, […]

VitalTalk Faculty Named as Emerging Leaders

Recently AAHPM (The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine) selected a new 2019 class of Emerging Leaders based on their career accomplishments, involvement in the Academy, mentoring of residents and students, and participation in charitable work. This was big news for us here at VitalTalk, and we want to give a huge shout out […]

A daughter’s view

On the cancer clinic waiting room: “It’s a very liminal place” – Greta Austin The perspective of a family member: surprise, unexpected gifts, warblers. From our local NPR station in Seattle. Go to the story at KUOW Seattle to find the audio link. In memory of George Austin, and his love of birdwatching and the Final […]

Secondary trauma isn’t communication training…

The new graphic medicine story in the Annals of Internal Medicine, “Betty P,” left us feeling dismayed. Great graphic style, yes. Wisdom about end-of-life care, no. What we object to: the story’s assumption that the absence of a do-not-resuscitate order was the big problem. While all too common, it is unacceptable that no one – not […]

Speed-read the IOM report!

Authored by our own James Tulsky (who was on the IOM committee): “Unfortunately, many clinicians who care for people living with advanced serious illness do not possess the knowledge or skills to effectively manage…communication challenges….The bulk of these patients’ needs must be met be training existing clinicians.” [JAMA Internal Medicine]

Making your skills sustainable

I was trying to explain what happens at a VitalTalk course to a savvy clinician last week. “I’ve heard all that stuff” she said, “my issue is the families who are so demanding & unrealistic. The ones who just don’t get it.” She’s onto something—the question that every doctor or nurse faces at some point […]