Physician-older patient communication at the end of life

Clin Geriatr Med. 2000 Feb;16(1):175-204, xi. doi: 10.1016/s0749-0690(05)70016-1.


Communication with dying patients and their families requires special skills to assist them in this extremely stressful period. This article begins with a case that illustrates many of the challenges of communicating with the dying. It then reviews the literature about communication with older patients at the end of life, focusing on physician-patient discussions, decision-making, advance directives, and cultural factors. The article concludes with a practical discussion of problems that physicians may encounter when working with older patients at the end of life and their families and recommendations to improve communication.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Advance Care Planning*
  • Advance Directive Adherence
  • Advance Directives*
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Communication
  • Empirical Research
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Patient Participation
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Terminal Care / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Truth Disclosure