What Families Need to Know about End-of-Life Care

By Jesse Dean Home
VNA Health Group

What Families Need to Know about End-of-Life Care


One of VNA Health Group’s hospice and palliative care medical directors, Marianne Holler, MSW, DO, spoke on a podcast today about what families and their physicians need to know about end-of-life care.


The ReachMD podcast, hosted by Jennifer Caudle, DO, explored barriers patients and their doctors often face when trying to have an honest conversation about a life-limiting illness.


She explained that when patients and their families learn of a terminal diagnosis, which is understandably a time fraught with shock, sadness, and confusion, there can be a disconnect between “what was said and what was heard."


Her role as a hospice and palliative medicine physician is to uncover any misunderstandings and to guide patients and their families through their options, whether they choose to continue pursuing invasive treatments or focus on “quality of life” care such as palliative or hospice.


Dr. Holler joined VNA Health Group’s Advanced Care Institute in 2016 and maintains an office at Community Medical Center in Toms River as part of VNA Health Group’s partnership with RWJBarnabas Health. 


At the start of her career, Dr. Holler was an advanced-care social worker and later answered a calling to become a doctor after she realized that patients and families liked the idea of palliative care, but wanted to talk to a doctor. “I decided to be that doctor,” she told VNA Health Group in an earlier interview.


In the podcast, Dr. Holler explained that her approach when meeting patients and their families for the first time is to evaluate what they know about their illness and any treatment options so she can help them focus on what is achievable and what is not. “Based on that information, I ask them what their goals are. I want to match [the patient’s] goals with the reality of what is going on.”


The podcast’s host, Dr. Jennifer Caudle is a board-certified Family Medicine physician and Assistant Professor in the department of Family Medicine at Rowan University-School of Osteopathic Medicine, and frequently appears as a health expert on CNN, The Dr. Oz Show and FOX News among others.


Click here to listen to the podcast.


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