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Publication Title

Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine


Early initiation of end-of-life (EOL) conversations has been shown to improve patient agency in dying, increase early access to hospice care, and facilitate a dignified death. Despite the benefits of early initiation, EOL conversations do not occur as readily as physicians or patients wish. While medicine is commonly considered both a science and an art, increasing medicalization may narrow a clinician's focus towards procedures or specialized clinical frameworks rather than a patient's end-of-life wishes. Since physicians are ambassadors of clinical knowledge and are trusted patient advocates, it is important they facilitate EOL conversations early in the dying process. Patients desire their physicians to convene these conversations. However, physicians are often hesitant to do so. Notable theologians, philosophers, and physicians offer a broad framework outlining the importance of physician-led EOL conversations.

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End-of-Life Conversations, Palliative Care, Religion and Medicine, Spirituality and Medicine, Thanatology