Compassion & Choices Chief Program Officer Kim Callinan and Media Relations Director Sean Crowley wrote a piece published in The Augusta Chronicle about the communications problems between doctors and patients who have been diagnosed with cancer. The piece references the 2016 CancerCare Patient Access and Engagement Report, which identified several communication issues:
• Less than half of respondents said their care team knew their end-of-life wishes.
• About a third or less of the respondents said they felt adequately informed about other treatment options their care team considered; the responsibilities of their caregivers; and clinical trial opportunities.
• Between 22 and 37 percent of respondents said that additional information about palliative care, living wills or hospice care would have been helpful to them.
Compassion & Choices supports the Care Planning Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide patients with terminal, chronic, or progressive illnesses with information and resources to better understand and plan their treatment plans. The bill would, among other things, provide:
• education about the likely course of their disease and foreseeable care decisions that may be needed in the future when the patient is likely to be unable to make decisions;
• assistance in describing their goals of care, values and preferences;
• discussion about treatment options, including curative, palliative and hospice care, and their comparative benefits and burdens;
• assistance in evaluating treatment options to identify those that most closely align with the patient’s goals of care, values and preferences, and creating a “concrete and actionable” plan of care based on those goals, values and preferences.