Illness Understanding

  • Assess the patient's understanding of their illness. Check for an understanding of their diagnosis and prognosis.
    • "Tell me about your illness and how things have been going for you in the past few months?"


    • "What do you understand about your illness?"
  • Assess the patient/family's interest in knowing more about prognosis.
    • "Are you the kind of person who likes to know a lot of information, particularly about the impact of your illness on your quality of life or how long you have to live or how your disease will progress?"


    • "Some people like to know a lot of information about their illness, what their quality of life will be like in the future, and how long they have to live. Other people prefer not to be told a lot of information, and ask us to speak to their family members about these things. I'm OK with either approach, but I would like to know which one you prefer."

      If they want information, check who they may want present for this conversation and proceed to additional questions found in "Approach to Disclosing Prognosis". If no, go to next question.

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