Principles

We have four key principles that guide us in our work with patients and families at the PATH clinic:

1. Knowledge is power

People want and deserve complete and accurate information about their health status and how their health conditions will affect them in the future. We believe that when people truly understand their overall health picture, they will make the best decisions for themselves.

2. Focus on the big picture

Doctors must look at what is best for the overall health of patients with multiple health problems, rather than trying to treat each separate illness. Frail older people with many serious chronic illnesses are less likely to respond to treatments. In addition, the treatment for one illness could make another illness worse and cause more overall harm. We believe that doctors must consider how all of a patient’s illnesses and potential treatments interact, so they can recommend only those steps that will help to improve or maintain overall health.

3. Carefully explore risks and benefits

The best health care decisions are made after full consideration of the long terms risks and benefits. Patients and families can only make health care decisions that are right for them if they grasp the true nature of how a situation will unfold. While bad new is hard for doctors to give, and many do not want to take away hope, they must provide honest and timely information about what the future holds. We believe that patients and families can only plan appropriately if the know how severe an illness is, how it will progress, and how it may shorten life.

4. It all comes down to asking the right questions

We believe that by taking an organized approach to decision making, we can help patients and their families learn how to make more carefully considered decision about what treatments they mar or may not want to accept.  We believe patients and their families can be empowered to make informed health care decision.  PATH aims to teach patients and their families the questions to be asked in a health care crisis, so that they can make decisions based on the risks and benefits of potential treatments.