Assisting Teens and Families in Joint Decision Making in Serious Illness
Adolescence is a time when individuals are navigating autonomy. When experiencing illness, adolescents are working to balance desired autonomy while coping with dependence and vulnerability consequent to their illness. Experts recommend that adolescents have developmentally-appropriate involvement in decision-making, yet our medical system often looks to parents to make “official” decisions until age 18. Palliative care social work providers are uniquely positioned through joint decision-making to work with patients and families to elicit and advocate for the adolescent, while aligning their goals of care with that of their guardians’ goals.
During this workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to explore how to assist families through establishing goals of care while considering the adolescent’s wishes and desires. Attendees will discuss how to help the adolescent explain the impact of their illness and how they wish to move forward in managing their medical complexity. The challenge of how to be mindful of the family dynamics and wishes of caregivers in choosing to disclose particular information while maintaining open and honest communication with the adolescent will be discussed.
Finally, benefits and risks of shared decision-making will be explored. The course will include both didactic lecture and interactive activities, in an effort to learn and apply knowledge of how to navigate these sometimes challenging clinical cases.
3 CEs available.