The Continuum Project is a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) culture change initiative that grew out of a 2015 taskforce convened by MGH president, Dr. Peter Slavin, and charged with developing a comprehensive strategy to care for patients and families facing serious illness. Our team works to implement the Serious Illness Care Program at MGH, to engage patients and families in living well now and preparing for the future, and to develop educational material for clinicians, patients, and families.
The Continuum Project supports clinicians providing care to seriously ill patients and their families through the Serious Illness Care Program, a system-based approach for improving serious illness care developed at Ariadne Labs. The program includes (1) tools for patients and clinicians, including a clinician-facing serious illness conversation guide, (2) training for clinicians, and (3) systems change such as electronic medical record modification. The Serious Illness Care Program is being implemented at institutions across the U.S., including MGH.
Absolutely. Our program encourages an interdisciplinary, team-based approach to initiating and documenting serious illness conversations that includes advance practice providers, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other healthcare professionals.
At MGH, serious illness conversations are documented in the EPIC Advance Care Planning (ACP) Module. This enables clinicians across specialties to be able to review and document serious illness conversations that were conducted over time with patients, to ensure that the care provided to patients are aligned with a patient’s wishes.
Serious illness conversations are valuable because they help clinicians learn about their patients’ wishes, and give patients an opportunity to express and develop their future plans with their clinician. Patients who have serious illness conversations with their care team experience less emotional suffering, reduced anxiety, and report a better quality of life.
Please contact Kelly Spinelli at MGHContinuumProject@partners.org to inquire about serious illness care trainings.