San Diego County Coalition
A Not-for-Profit Corporation

For Improving End-of-Life Care

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Seven Questions to Ask Your Doctor
When Facing a Life-Threatening Illness

7 questions

1.  Good Medical Treatment:
What are the goals of my medical treatment? Will my treatment delay the progression of my disease, improve function and quality of life, and ensure comfort?

2.  Never Overwhelmed by Symptoms:
How will you effectively control any symptoms like pain, confusion/restlessness, and shortness of breath? Are you willing to use sedation, if necessary, to relieve uncontrolled systems?

3.  Continuity, Coordination, and Comprehensiveness:
If I need hospice, a nursing home, or home care, how will you continue to be actively involved in my care?

4.  Well Prepared, No Surprises:
How will you keep my family and me informed about what we need to know as my illness progresses, so that we can be prepared?

5.  Customized Care, Respecting Your Preferences:
Given my advance directives, can you personally support my wishes?

6.  Use of Patient and Family Resources:
How will you let us know what our options are and will you abide by our choices?

7.  Make The Best of Each Day:
How will you help my family and me make the most of every day?


Promises To Keep:

The guiding vision of the San Diego County Coalition for Improving End-of-Life Care is to help health care providers make, and deliver, the following promises to every patient with a life threatening illness.

1.  Good Medical Treatment:
You will have the best of medical treatment, aiming to prevent exacerbation, improve function and survival, and ensure comfort.

2.  Never Overwhelmed by Symptoms:
You will never have to endure overwhelming pains, shortness of breath, or other symptoms.

3.  Continuity, Coordination, and Comprehensiveness:
Your care will be continuous, comprehensive, and coordinated.

4.  Well Prepared, No Surprises:
You and your family will be prepared for everything that is likely to happen in the course of your illness.

5.  Customized Care, Respecting Your Preferences:
Your wishes will be sought and respected, and whenever possible, followed.

6.  Use of Patient and Family Resources:
We will help you consider your personal and financial resources and will respect your choices about using those resources.

7.  Make The Best of Each Day:
You and your family will have the opportunity to make the best of every day.

Excerpt from Promises to Keep: Changing the Way We Provide Care at the End of Life,
a report released October 12, 2000 by the National Coalition for Health and the Institute for Health Care Improvements.



All content found on the San Diego County Coalition for Improving End-of-Life Care Website/Facebook page including: articles, webinars, or other formats were created for educational and informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment or specific pathway. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.


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Copyright 2001- San Diego County Coalition for Improving End-of-Life Care. All rights reserved.