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Despite our commitment to the scientific method, caregivers are not nearly as rational and evidence-based as we tell ourselves that we are. Emotions permeate our clinical decision-making, whether we choose to acknowledge this or not. The presentation examines how emotions affect caregivers and the medical care they are able to give their patients.

Physician and Patient Communication

“Cascade effects” is a term in decision psychology that refers to a process that, once initiated, continues to lead to a chain of events that snowball and cannot easily be stopped until the case concludes. The trigger often occurs in primary care medicine, but it is not typically recognized by participants. This activity will describe the concept and its implications in primary care, and we will discuss different communication and decision making techniques to help “break” cascade momentum.

End of Life Challenges

The capabilities of medicine and technology have evolved to provide ever increasingly complex care and keep patients alive in health states that they might not desire. This has created an added responsibility for the physician to anticipate future care needs and to guide treatments as patients become more ill and less functional. Advance care planning is an essential tool in the physician’s armamentarium and this skill set must be honed to ensure that patients receive care consistent with their informed preferences and appropriate to their prognosis. In this activity, Dr. Wenger will discuss the components of advance care planning including serial discussion with patients about clinical circumstances and prognosis, incorporating specific tools, coordinating among the team of physicians caring for a patient across venues of care. He will address how to building strong relationships with patients and families, and keep a consistent focus on goals of care to provide high quality treatment and achieve optimal end-of-life care.

This activity will define palliative care, both as its own medical subspecialty and as a component of all physician practice. Using a compelling case vignette, Dr. Buss will illustrate missed opportunities for integrating palliative care into patient care. Sentinel studies that examine the impact of palliative care on patient outcomes will be reviewed along with differences between palliative care and hospice care. Dr. Buss will discuss strategies to identify which patients need palliative care and offer strategies for initiating conversations about patient’s quality of life and future goals.

Cultural Competency in Diagnosing Patient

In the United States, the Latino population has an increased rate of diabetes. This program will review the factors that impact their health and also review effective communication skills to enhance communication and adherence in Latino patients.  Using culturally tailored strategies, patient education and community based treatment plans with a multidisciplinary care team will be discussed.

doc writing notes on clipboard

Learn how to successfully manage patient expectations in everyday practice. In this activity, Dr. Dunham demonstrates effective communication skills by discussing two patient cases commonly encountered by primary care physicians.

Facing a life-threatening illness is difficult for both the patient and the clinician. Dr. Mary Buss discusses common misperceptions about prognosis among both patients and clinicians and how these misperceptions can impact clinical decision-making. She offers specific strategies for discussing prognosis with patients in order to ease patients’ anxiety and incorporate them into the clinical decision-making process.

black woman holding right wrist in pain

This activity presents a patient in chronic pain referred for evaluation regarding utilization/implementation of an interdisciplinary pain program. It will focus on the most common questions and concerns that a patient has about their pain, discontinuing their pain medications, and coming for interdisciplinary treatment. Dr. Atchison will discuss how to answer these questions to assist the patient to understand the need and benefit from this type of program.

In this activity, Dr. Symes will illustrate how to use patient decision aids and evidence-based medicine in your everyday practice. He will highlight resources for evidence-based medicine and demonstrate the calculation of the measures of association and the assessment of evidence in the context of the bigger clinical picture.


This talk will review differences in prescribing to older adults and age-associated changes in metabolism. Polypharmacy and the Beers criteria will be discussed to summarize common adverse drug effects. Real world examples will assist in outlining a systematic approach to prescribing and describe tools that help this process. Learners will walk away with tips to enhance safe medication use.

nurse pushing elderly woman in a wheelchair

Learn more about the patient-centered medical home model in this activity. Dr. Evans explains how a general practitioner can implement this model in their practice to deal with patients with chronic conditions in a responsible and effective manner.

Strategies for Optimizing Dementia Care for Patients and Caregivers

In 2010, 35.6 million people worldwide had dementia. This number is expected to nearly double in the next 20 years. In the community, the estimated prevalence of dementia in people age 85 and older is >30%. This program will rely on evidence based approaches for diagnosing and categorizing symptoms as well discuss both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments. Finally, this program will discuss ways to assist caregivers to provide optimal care and support for patients with dementia.