Serious Illness Conversations: Engaging Patients and Families

Serious Illness Conversations: Engaging Patients and Families

Target Audience:

Vancouver Division of Family Practice members. Non-member Vancouver family physicians are welcome to register and apply for membership.

Course Format: 1800-2100: An interactive session for residents & students
  • Mar 6, 2019
The Arbutus Club
2001 Nanton Avenue
Full-Sized Map


***THIS IS A REPEAT SESSION of the same CME workshop held on Mar. 6, 2018 and Oct. 3, 2018. If you already attended the Mar. 6 and Oct. 3 sessions in 2018, you are not eligible to take this workshop again for more CME credits.***

Studies show that patients with serious medical illnesses do not discuss end-of-life preferences, or first discuss them only in the last days to months of life (Wright 2008, Dow 2010, Halpern 2011). Many physicians feel that they lack the training or the confidence to conduct these difficult conversations with patients and families. Yet, it is critical that physicians have early conversations about patient prognosis and goals of care, as they can improve quality of life, reduce suffering, and ease the burden of decision-making.

This workshop will equip physicians with the skills to determine when and how to have Serious Illness Conversations, using the “Serious Illness Conversation Guide” developed by Ariadne Labs. The session speakers will provide a background and overview of the guide focusing on best practices for implementation. Attendees will then apply their learning through discussions and interactive practice with different cases, including a frail elderly patient with multiple co-morbidities, a substitute decision maker whose parent is living with dementia, and a patient with cancer. The goal of the workshop is to enhance physician practice through improved workflow, documentation, and capacity to support our patients nearing the end of their life.


  • Dr. Farah Ramji, Physician and Residential & Frail Elder Care Committee Member, VDoFP
  • Dr. Tim Sakaluk, Medical Director, Vancouver Home Health & Home Hospice Palliative Care Services
  • Mr. Wallace Robinson, Leader, Advance Care Planning, Providence Health Care

Please note: This workshop is being supported by the Practice Support Program (PSP) to work with attendees prior to the event. A PSP representative will be contacting workshop registrants prior to the session to schedule pre and post in-practice consultation. First, to help identify appropriate patients in your panel for serious illness conversations, and second, to provide some post-session practice coaching.

Skills Gained

At the end of the workshop participants will be able to:

  1. Identify target patient population
  2. Integrate Serious Illness Conversations into your fee-for-service practice
  3. Explain the rationale for improving conversations
  4. Demonstrate the steps of the “Serious Illness Conversation”
  5. Practice using this person / relationship centred approach
  6. Develop a plan for practice change within your clinic


Free and open to VDoFP members only.

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