End-of-Life Care Series (Module 2)

End-of-Life Module 2: Communication and conflict

Physicians can improve end-of-life care by ensuring that communication with patients and their families is a top priority. Poor communication among physicians, patients, and families unfortunately is common and can lead to discord and dissatisfaction with care at the end-of-life.

When conflict arises over end-of-life care, physicians with a working knowledge of ethics and skill in facilitating difficult conversations can help everyone involved in the patient's care reach consensus. In this module, we describe strategies and techniques for developing effective communication skills about the end of life that can be used in practice.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify common barriers to communication among the patient, family, and medical team about end-of-life care and develop strategies to overcome them.
  • Develop a process-based approach to helping the patient and family work through ethical dilemmas at the end of life.  
  • Develop a strategy for resolving a common conflict in end-of-life care: disagreement between the family and medical team about life-sustaining treatment for an incapacitated patient.

Additional Information

Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS)
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
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Jolion McGreevy, M.D., M.B.E., M.P.H.
Department of Emergency Medicine Boston Medical Center

Winnie Suen, M.D.
Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics

Boston Medical Center Michael A. Grodin, M.D.
Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health
Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine

Accreditation Statement  
The Massachusetts Medical Society is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical
Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA Credit Designation Statement 
The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity meets the criteria for the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for risk management study, including 1.00 credit in end-of-life care.

MOC Approval Statement 
Through the American Board of Medical Specialties ("ABMS") ongoing commitment to increase access to practice relevant Maintenance of Certification ("MOC") Activities through the ABMS Continuing Certification Directory , this activity has met the requirements as an MOC Part II CME Activity (apply toward general CME requirement) for the following ABMS Member Boards:

 Allergy and Immunology
Family Medicine
Orthopaedic Surgery
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Preventive Medicine
Psychiatry & Neurology

National Commission on Certification of Physicians Assistant (NCCPA).

Physician Assistants may claim 1.00 Category 1 credits for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.

A score of 70% or higher is required to receive AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  

Available Credit

  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit


Nonmember cost:
Member cost:
Student or Resident cost:
Other Health Care Professionals cost:
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This course is offered through the Massachusetts Medical Society.

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