Harvard Medical SchoolCenter for Palliative Care




Rachelle Bernacki, MD


Susan D. Block, MD


June 22-24, 2016


Hynes Convention Center
Boston, MA


Colonnade Hotel




$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 11.50


Earn up to 17.75 Continuing Nursing Education Credits


Earn up to 18.00 Social Work Continuing Education Credits


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Serious Illness Care Program (SICP)

Communication in Serious Illness: An Innovative Approach to Clinical Care and Quality Improvement

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 at their local institution. Derived from evidence-based best practices, our program 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.

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
  • Assess barriers and facilitators in implementation and dissemination of the program in participant's own setting
  • Create a draft Action Plan to operationalize and implement the program 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

Target Audience

This course is targeted towards those who work with patients and families with serious illness including Physicians, Pharmacists, Psychologists, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, Social Workers and Chaplains.