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For Healthcare Professionals

The Institute for Human Caring offers physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, case managers and others continuing education and advanced training to support whole person care.

The Institute’s provider education portfolio emphasizes ongoing communication, goals-of-care clarification, and shared decision-making, as well as pain and symptom management – including the safe use of opioids.

For more information, contact or call (424) 212-5400.


Advanced communication training offers clinicians skills to engage in goals-of-care conversations with patients and families, particularly with serious illness. Physicians need to take the lead in initiating such discussions with patients and families.

Done well, the outcomes are mutually reinforcing. For patient and families, the benefits include:

  • Getting the full advantages of evidence-based treatments
  • Avoiding unwanted, or non-beneficial, and expensive treatments
  • Having more time at home
  • Knowing what to do if problems occur and, therefore, spending less time dealing with crises
  • Having confidence in treatment decisions
  • Feeling known (as a person) by one’s health care team.

Professional caregivers benefit by feeling more fulfilled in their jobs and proud of the high-quality, personalized care they provide.

“I liked the fact the training emphasized what is it that you value as a patient, what are the things you’d like to retain through your serious illness. It moves from your disease, to what’s important to you, so we’re treating the person, not a disease.” – Dr. Vik Dahbi, oncologist, PacMed

Access Training and Support Videos

These videos were created to meet a need for education to critical care unit team members about palliative care and related topics. Learn More.

The POLST Conversation:

Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) is a physician order that outlines a plan of care reflecting a patient’s wishes concerning care at life’s end. The POLST form is voluntary and is intended to:

  • Help you and your patient discuss and develop plans to reflect his or her wishes
  • Assist physicians, nurses, healthcare facilities, and emergency personnel in honoring a person’s wishes for life-sustaining treatment

For more information, please visit POLST for health care providers.

Have the POLST Conversation

Having a conversation with your seriously-ill patient about care at the end of their life is an important and necessary part of good medical care. For some providers, initiating the POLST conversation can be challenging. Daniel J. Kim, M.D., at St Jude Medical Center has shared a video with us that may assist clinicians in having these crucial conversations.

Advance care planning discussions are not a one-time event. These talks can occur several times over the course of treatment or several times during the aging process. POLST is making a difference. Studies have shown that among patients with POLST forms treatment preferences were respected 98% of the time, and no one received unwanted CPR, intubations, intensive care or feeding tubes (Coalition for Compassionate Care of California).

Additional Resources Healthcare Professionals

ACP Decisions

Advance Care Planning (ACP) Decisions

Video “prescriptions” for clinicians to help foster meaningful and sometimes difficult conversations with patients.


Center to Advance Palliative Care.
Providence St. Joseph Health caregivers have free access to more than 35 CME/CEU-certified courses.

CCCC Decision Guides and Perinatal Palliative Care Birth

Decision Guides for Healthcare Providers: is an educational series designed by the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC) that explains the complex topics of life-sustaining treatments, using consumer-friendly language with evidence-based information. Topics include: artificial hydration, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, and tube feeding.They are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese

Get to Know Me

Free posters to help improve caregiver/patient engagement and deliver patients from anonymity.

Download horizontal English poster

Download vertical English poster

Download Spanish poster

Hear Me Now

Hear Me Now

A partnership with StoryCorps® to record interviews with patients, family and caregivers. Storytelling and listening have proven clinical value, and are keys to whole person care.

Serious Illness Conversation

A document outlining how to set up, guide and follow up conversations with patients facing serious illness.

Download guide in English

Preparing for Your Patient and Family

References taken from

Trusted Decision Maker

At most Providence locations, patients with decision-making capacity can now verbally designate a trusted decision maker (TDM), which helps clinicians make decisions in the absence of an Advance Directive. For help with establishing a TDM protocol at your organization, contact

Download sample Trusted Decision Maker form