Family Meeting

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A family meeting refers to a meeting with a patient, the patient's family, and the patient's medical team.

How to Best Carry out a Family Meeting

If you anticipate a serious discussion due to the subject matter, it is best to break things up with a game of charades. If you anticipate fisticuffs, then that's a no-brainer: hell-in-a-cell steel-cage match.[1] No matter what the setting, always ask the patient if they would like a member of pastoral care present. If they do, then politely explain that you cannot honor the request because all of them are burnt out.[2] Finally, if all of these options fail, then always resort to the last but failsafe approach: ask Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci to run the meeting. It'll go f**king fabulous.[3]

Variations on the Family Meeting

As stated above, the classic family meeting involves the patient, the patient's family, and the patient's medical team. However, we are seeing an increasing number of variants as health care professions try to figure out the optimal set up.

  1. Family Meeting Where the Medical Team Invites Their Family - It is a common complaint among health care professionals that they feel outnumbered by the patient and his or her family members. In order to even up the numbers, each member of the medical team can invite their own family members - spouses, children, parents, grandparents, and even pets! - to the family meeting and it ends up being either way more enjoyable or way more awkward.
  2. Family Barbecue - This builds upon the above variant: with so many people present, why not take things outside to a park, add some beers, a grill, and some barbecue to really break down the tension and get to know one another. For both patients and the medical team, this is the most fun type of family meeting. However, there is a very high risk that the meeting is unproductive.

Outcomes from a Family Meeting

There are only a few possible outcomes from a family meeting. In an optimal scenario, everyone comes out of the meeting on the same page and the patient, assuming he or she is appropriate for it, is made DNR with plans for hospice. In a completely suboptimal scenario, everyone comes out of the meeting in disagreement, with no progress made, and the doctor leading the medical team gives up, becomes DNR, and admits himself to hospice for comfort measures only.

Related Topics


  1. Everyone Looking Forward to Tonight’s Hell-in-a-Cell, Steel-Cage Family Meeting (Gomerblog)
  2. Breaking: Inpatient Pastoral Care Team Suffering Burnout (Gomerblog)
  3. Mooch: G*ddamn Goals of Care Talk Went F**king Fabulous (Gomerblog)

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