REMAP: A Framework for Goals of Care Conversations

J Oncol Pract. 2017 Oct;13(10):e844-e850. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2016.018796. Epub 2017 Apr 26.


Conversations regarding goals of care with patients who have advanced cancer still occur too late, and oncologists say they lack the training to have these conversations effectively. Experts recommend a number of strategies when having these discussions, including discussing prognosis, responding to patient emotion, exploring values, and often making a recommendation for medical treatments that fit those values. To help learners, from residents to attending oncologists, learn these complex conversational skills, we have developed a framework with a mnemonic, REMAP: Reframe, Expect emotion, Map out patient goals, Align with goals, and Propose a plan. In the reframe step, the oncologist provides a big picture "headline" that lets the patient know things are in a different place. This is followed by actively attending to the patient's emotional response (expect emotion). Then, to map the patient's goals, the oncologist asks open-ended questions that are designed to help the patient think about the values that should guide his or her treatment. The oncologist then aligns with those values by explicitly reflecting them back to the patient. If the patient gives permission, the oncologist will then use those values to propose a medical plan that matches patient values. The processes underlying REMAP encourage oncologists and other clinicians to seek to understand and remain flexible, adapting their recommendations to what they hear from the patient, with ongoing revision based on the shared decision-making process. This will lead to patient-centered decisions that promote better end-of-life care.

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Decision Making
  • Humans
  • Oncologists / education*
  • Patient Care Planning*
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Terminal Care*