A free workshop on the use of the Difficult Conversations Workbook will be offered on Thursday, May 9, 6:30-8:30 pm at the Norman Williams Public Library in Woodstock, VT. Participants will learn how to use the workbook as a guide for identifying and communicating about issues and concerns in facing chronic and incurable illnesses. The training is open to patients, family, friends, healthcare providers and clergy. The workshop will be facilitated by CCM founders Dr. Bernard Bandman and Celia Engel Bandman and will feature panel discussion with various care-giving professionals, including a palliative care physician, nurse, social worker and chaplain. The workshop is supported by a grant from the Ottauquechee Health Foundation. For information or to pre-register for this free event, call CCM at 802-442-5800 or email SpeakSooner@gmail.com .
The Stowe Weekend of Hope is an annual forum that offers educational and inspirational programs for cancer survivors and their families. The aim of CCM’s May 4 workshop is to help patients arrive at doctors’ offices prepared to take a more active role in decisions about their care. The program will address the challenges to communication between patients facing advanced cancer, loved ones and healthcare providers. CCM founders Dr. Bernard Bandman and Celia Engel Bandman will introduce material from the Difficult Conversations Workbook, which they designed as a tool to help patients explore and communicate about such challenging subjects as prognosis, coping with uncertainty, risks and benefits of treatment options and quality-of-life issues.
Identifying barriers and solutions to effective communication between patients and healthcare providers was the topic of CCM’s community forum presented on March 12 in Woodstock, VT. In a presentation to community members and healthcare professionals, CCM founders Dr. Bernard Bandman and Celia Engel Bandman cited studies that show how avoiding discussion of difficult medical subjects—such as prognoses, benefits and risks of treatment options, and quality of life considerations—can result in unnecessary suffering and regrets, particularly for patients facing chronic and incurable illnesses. CCM’s Difficult Conversations Workbook was introduced as a guide to help patients better understand their issues and concerns in preparing to communicate with healthcare providers and loved ones about planning care. The program was supported by the Ottauquechee Health Foundation and Norman Williams Public Library.
The launch of SpeakSooner.org was the topic of discussion on “From My Corner,” a talk show that aired February 26 on WBTN, a southern Vermont radio station. Listeners heard CCM founders Dr. Bernard Bandman and Celia Engel Bandman describe the development of the Difficult Conversations video and workbook, which the SpeakSooner.org website combines to offer as an interactive tool. The Difficult Conversations Workbook can help prepare patients facing serious chronic and incurable illnesses to communicate with healthcare providers and loved ones. The discussion highlighted the goal of the SpeakSooner initiative: increasing public awareness about the patient’s responsibility in helping healthcare providers better understand their questions and concerns so that they can effectively partner in decisions about care.
With the launch of its new website, SpeakSooner.org, the Bennington-based nonprofit Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM) hopes to help patients facing incurable illness arrive at doctors’ offices prepared to take a more active role in decisions about their own care.
During its “Difficult But Meaningful Conversations” workshop, presented May 5, 2012 at the 12th annual Stowe Weekend of Hope, the Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM) introduced patients, family and healthcare professionals to its Difficult Conversations Workbook.
On April 11 in Bennington, VT, CCM founders Celia and Bernard Bandman spoke about barriers and solutions to communicating with loved ones and physicians about end-of-life preferences. The presentation was part of the nationwide community educational programming associated with National Healthcare Decisions Day.
The White River Junction VA Medical Center and Dartmouth Medical School Institutional Review Boards have approved a pilot study to evaluate the effectiveness of CCM’s Difficult Conversations Workbook materials in improving doctor-patient communication about prognosis, treatment choices and quality-of-life issues. Dr. Joseph O’Donnell, VA medical oncologist and Senior Advising Dean at Dartmouth Medical School, is Principal Investigator on the study.
CCM has received a $10,000 grant from the Vermonters with Cancer Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation to educate advanced cancer patients, families and healthcare providers about the key role of communication in understanding treatment options and quality of life issues when cure is no longer possible.