Harvard Medical SchoolCenter for Palliative Care




Rachelle Bernacki, MD
Susan D. Block, MD


June 22-24, 2016


Hynes Convention Center
Boston, MA


Colonnade Hotel
Sheraton Boston Hotel


Coming Soon


$1750 physicians
$1500 all others


Earn up to 17.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™

In Massachusetts
End-of-Life Care Credits: A maximum of 12.00


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Serious Illness Care Program (SICP)

Communication in Serious Illness

A Course for Change Agents at the Personal, Practice, and System Level

A special new CME course offering strategies, tools, and instruction for conducting end-of-life discussions with patients and their families.

Course Description

This intensive two-and-a-half-day course fills a significant gap for clinicians who seek to learn, practice and train others in using and implementing a Serious Illness Care Program (SICP) at their local institution. Derived from evidence-based best practices, the SICP is a multi-component intervention that aims to support clinicians in generating a personalized serious illness care plan for patients in the last year of life.

Learning methods will include development and discussion of cognitive maps, demonstration, skills practice with feedback, and coaching in the use of the Serious Illness Conversation Guide, an extensively piloted, evidence-based structure for communication about serious illness care goals. In addition to learning how to use the SICP elements, learners will undergo training in how to teach this care model to others and how to adapt it for use by health care teams

Unique Teaching Methods and Key Take-Home Tools

Teaching and learning methods will include:

  • Personalized support and feedback in developing an institution-specific plan for implementing a Serious Illness Care Program at participants' home sites
  • Interactive discussion in large and small groups
  • Demonstration and practice using the Serious Illness Communication Guide, with personalized feedback
  • Teaching demonstration and opportunities to practice teaching others about the use of the Communication Guide
  • Coaching on engaging, training and supporting clinicians and administrators in implementing the Serious Illness Care Program

Attendees leave this course with:

  • Resources for patients to share with family members
  • Action plans
  • A guide to help you structure conversations about this difficult topic in a patient-centered and efficient way
  • Structure for optimal training of other clinicians in your organization on the best ways to elicit patient goals and values

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Outline ways that improving communication about serious illness goals and values improves the quality of care received by patients with advanced illness and their families
  • Consider the principles of a checklist approach to complex care processes
  • Use a systems approach to improving conversations about serious illness care goals, including population identification, triggers and algorithms, training, and electronic health record documentation templates
  • Utilize an evidence-based, structured approach to Serious Illness Communication with their own patients
  • Teach other clinicians how to use the Serious Illness Conversation Guide and other elements of the Serious Illness Care Program (SICP)
  • Assess barriers and facilitators in implementation and dissemination of the SICP in participant's own setting
  • Create a draft Action Plan to operationalize and implement the SICP in the participant's own setting
  • Evaluate strategies that are effective in engaging leadership and clinicians, gaining system-wide buy-in for change, and evaluating the impact of the Serious Illness Care Program within a healthcare organization or system

Who Should Attend?

We invite all physicians, psychologists, nurses, allied health professionals, social workers, chaplains, residents, and fellows in training who work with patients with serious illness and families, or who teach other clinicians about serious illness communication skills, to attend this course.