Assessing Decision-Making Capacity in Patients with Serious Illness
Patients living with serious illnesses, and their families, have a lot of information to consider when making decisions regarding their care. Palliative care teams are tasked with ensuring that patients have the capacity to make medical decisions, and can effectively communicate an understanding of their condition and the potential consequences of their decision.
In this Master Clinician session, Antonio Graham, MD, will present the case of an older adult with a medical history of hypertension, dyslipidemia, knee osteoarthritis, and prostate cancer. With a recent diagnosis of metastatic renal cell carcinoma, the patient is admitted to the hospital for evaluation, seen by various specialists, and offered a variety of treatment options. Through this case review, Dr. Graham will describe the complexities of evaluating the capacity of a patient during an emergent and urgent situation; explain how to identify a health care proxy when the patient has no identified caregivers; and share strategies for care coordination between multiple services, when a patient is unable to explicitly make decisions—all to ensure the best possible care.