The Patient and Family Meeting Program in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine at City of Hope

City of Hope has a robust, world-class Department of Supportive Care Medicine comprised of:
  • Supportive Medicine (Palliative Medicine)
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Clinical Social Work
  • Spiritual Care
  • Child Life
  • Patient Navigators
  • Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center
  • Positive Image CenterSM
  • Patient, Family & Community Education
Together, we support patients, families and the medical team with a mixed-model palliative care approach. Below you will find information regarding the Patient and Family Meeting Program, which is designed to have a greater, more focused supportive care impact by reaching more patients, extending the capacities of each service and helping providers work at the top of their license.
We chose to have clinical social workers lead coordination and family meetings, as the majority of our clinical social workers have obtained certification in palliative care and are integrated throughout all disease teams at City of Hope. Each health care environment needs to determine which provider has had enough training, staffing and integration to serve in this capacity for their institution.

About the Program

The Patient and Family Meeting Program is a coordinated, interdisciplinary program based on education and communication. It is designed to support shared decision making and enhance compassionate clinical care.
The program components include:
  • Comprehensive Clinical Care
    • Patient and family orientation
    • Biopsychosociospiritual distress screening
    • Integrated comprehensive supportive care services
    • Supportive counseling
    • Physician to physician alignment session to provide consistent messaging
    • Family meeting (information, goals of care, decision making, conflict management, end of life, bereavement)
    • Satisfaction surveys for patients, families and staff to improve delivery of services
    • Referrals to institutional and external resources
  • Patient and Family Education
  • Professional Education
  • Improving Staff Well-being


  1. Program Model
    10-step overview of the Patient and Family Meeting Program
  2. Triggers to Involve Supportive Care
    List of patient/family needs and concerns that should prompt consideration for Interdisciplinary Supportive Care involvement.
  3. Family Meeting Summary Form
    Example of the summary form provided to patients/families after each family meeting
  4. Decision Guides/Education Sheets
    One page education sheets (written to the 6th grade reading level) to help patients and families think through important medical decisions.
    1. Alternative Nutrition Hydration
    2. Breathing Tube Removal
    3. Comfort Measures Only
    4. Dialysis
    5. Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)
    6. Full Code
    7. Life Support
    8. Organ Failure
    9. Transition of Care
  5. Satisfaction Surveys
    1. Example of Patient Survey
    2. Example of Staff Survey
  6. Program Publications
    1. Oral Presentation/Poster at MASCC 2017
  7. Other Helpful Resources
    a. Article on Integrative, Consultative, and Mixed-Model Palliative Care
    b. Center to Advance Palliative Care
    c. Serious Illness Conversation Guide (Ariadne Labs)
    d. VITALtalk
    e. Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (Decision Guides)


Please reach out to us at [email protected]