How much time have I got?
Mr. Kerr learned two weeks ago that he has small cell carcinoma of the lung. He and his wife had been in the process of buying a condo in Florida before he was diagnosed. He wants to know whether to go ahead with it nor not.
In this scenario a patient faces some important decisions. Often these concerns are hidden behind "difficult questions".
What to watch for
It is important in this situation that the clinician not be drawn into making decisions for the patient, or responding to the question with a factual answer, but instead determining what information would be helpful to them and providing it in a context relative to the patient's needs.
Watch for the various ways that the physician avoided making the decision for the patient, while still supporting his need to make it.
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