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Antea Worldwide Palliative Care Conference

Rome, 12-14 November 2008


Presenting author "Oncotalk" method for communication skills training to Italian Oncology
Anna Costantini
Authors (max 6, presenting author included): Anna Costantini, Walter Baile, Luigi Grassi, Paolo
Email: Marchetti, Vincenzo Ziparo, Renato Lenzi

Phone In recent years many areas of Eastern and Western Europe have witnessed changes in the manner
in which patients are involved in medical decision-making. Stimulated by factors such as the
increasing availability of specific disease information, the emergence of patient advocacy groups,
Mobile phone the growing attention paid to issues of qualify of life and the ethics of ensuring informed consent,
the position of the patient is beginning to shift from one of passive recipient of medical directives
to active participation in decision- making. Legal and ethical codes now often mandate that the
physician must provide the patient with complete information regarding the diagnosis, prognosis
Please underline the most and potential outcomes of treatment alternatives. These requirements for information disclosure
appropriate category for your have particular relevance for the field of oncology where the “bad news” about cancer, such as the
abstract diagnosis, prognosis, recurrence of disease and lack of effective anti-cancer treatment has
historically been withheld from the patient but is often told to the family. Furthermore as Surbone
• Pain and other symptoms
points out, commenting on the evolution of truth-telling practices in Italy, uttering the word
• Palliative care for cancer patients “cancer” is no longer a “taboo” and many Italian cancer patients not only want to hear bad news,
• Palliative care for non cancer but some are beginning to bring information from the Internet and other sources to their medical
patients visits for discussion with their oncologist.
• Paediatric palliative care These legal requirements and changes in patient attitudes and behavior also however pose the
challenge of how to support this transition in the relationship between the oncologist and the
• Palliative care for the elderly
patient from a paternalistic and protective one into a “ patient- focused ” relationship which
• The actors of palliative care
emphasizes understanding of patient preferences for receiving truthful and accurate information
• Latest on drugs and engaging in shared decision-making
• Pain In this lecture we outline the cultural barriers to giving bad news and describe the method
“Oncotalk” a communication skills training program designed to facilitate this process. Our
• Illness and suffering through teaching program was initiated at University of Rome in September 2004 and is today in its 6th
media edition.
• Marginalisation and social stigma
at the end of life
• Palliative care advocacy projects

• Prognosis and diagnosis
communication in
different cultures
• Communication between doctor-
patient and patient-
• Religions and cultures versus
suffering, death and
• Public institution in the world:
palliative care policies
and law
• Palliative care: from villages to metropolies

• Space, light and gardens for the terminally ill patient
• End-of-life ethics
• Complementary therapies
• Education, training and research
• Session: Informed consent & advance directives

• Fund-raising and no-profit
Chair of the session: Prof. Ignazio Marino
• Bereavement support
• Volunteering in palliative care
• Rehabilitation in palliative care
• Informed consent & advance directives