Physical therapists (PTs) who find themselves the bearer of disappointing news for their patients and clients may want to take a cue from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, whose oncologists are using a new tool that helps them navigate conversations with patients counting on a miracle to turn a bad prognosis around.
Called the AMEN (Affirm, Meet, Educate, No matter what) protocol, the tool provides a roadmap that allows the health care provider to acknowledge and respect patients’ belief systems while continuing to educate them on their diagnosis and continuing treatment. AMEN consists of a recommended script for talking with patients, to "maintain trust and foster open and honest communication as the care plan is being discussed," according to a news release from the Kimmel Center.
The protocol walks providers through a 4-part conversation in which they affirm the patient's beliefs, meet the patient and family where they are in terms of hoping for a miracle, educate them from the perspective of a health care professional, and assure the patient that the provider will be there for them no matter what.
“We do not expect providers to become theologians or ‘miracle experts,’” said AMEN co-creator Rhonda S. Cooper, MDiv, BCC, the Cancer Center’s chaplain, “but instead to maintain the connection and respond to the patient’s invitation to journey with them through their experience.”
The AMEN protocol was discussed in the May 6 online issue of The Journal of Oncology Practice (abstract only available for free), and has since been featured in TIME magazine and on the Science Daily website.
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