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WBUR: UMass Medical School survey informs recommendations to improve palliative care

Jennifer Reidy physician lead of group recommending five competencies for medical education

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

May 15, 2018

UMass Medical School palliative care expert Jennifer Reidy, MD, is the physician lead on the third annual end-of-life-care survey conducted by UMass Medical School that was featured in a WBUR-FM radio interview with physician, author and palliative care advocate Atul Gawande, MD.

“We found [with this latest survey] that there were significantly more respondents who said that their dying loved one’s care wishes were followed and honored by care providers,” said Dr. Gawande, author of the bestselling book Being Mortal and co-chair of the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care. “That was up from 58 percent in 2016 to 71 percent this year. That’s a big leap.”

The interview was conducted ahead of the third annual summit of the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care at the JFK Library in Boston on Tuesday, May 15, where Dr. Reidy, associate professor of family medicine & community health and chief of the Division of Palliative Care in the Department of Medicine at UMMS, was on hand.

Comprising physicians, nurses, hospice workers, counselors, clergy, hospital and health plan administrators, social workers, attorneys, policymakers, researchers, and other health professionals, the coalition has a mission to ensure that health care in Massachusetts is in accordance with the recipient’s goals, values and preferences at all stages of life and in all steps of their care.

Ensuring appropriate training for all Massachusetts clinicians to facilitate high-quality communication with patients in advance care planning and serious illness is one of the coalition’s six core goals. It will be supported with a new medical school curriculum, announced at the summit, that will teach five competencies for talking to patients about death, dying and end-of-life wishes.

Read the full interview here.

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