Author of ‘The Conversation,’ other clinicians to address a better end of life

Drs. Meier, Volandes and Davis to speak at Lown Institute conference

March 8, 2015 (San Diego, CA)—American end-of-life care is broken at every level, writes Angelo Volandes, MD, the author of the newly released, widely-acclaimed book, The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care. Doing everything medically possible for dying patients, as is often the case, might not be what they want and can lead to painful, undignified and futile measures to prolong living.

Volandes is a panelist at the Lown Institute’s third annual conference this week and will speak about the essential conversations that must take place among physicians, patients and their families in order to secure a blueprint for desired care at the end of life. Patient preferences can take many forms, be it for medical interventions like CPR, intubation, ventilation or comfort care. Because there is often a disconnect between what doctors say and what patients imagine for the end of life, Volandes has developed a series of short videos, presented in layman’s terms, which explain the spectrum of end-of-life care.

The conference, Road to RightCare: Engage, Organize, Transform, is open to clinicians as well as to patient advocates and the public. It is one of the first conferences of its kind to focus on over-diagnosis and overtreatment, main concerns of the Institute and well-documented occurrences at the end of life. According to the Dartmouth Atlas, patients with chronic illness in their last two years of life account for about 32% of total Medicare spending, much of it going toward physician and hospital fees associated with repeated hospitalizations.

End-of-life issues are central to the conference, which opens with Diane Meier, MD, FACP, director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care at Mt. Sinai Health System. She will deliver a keynote, titled Going from Outrage to Action.

Presenting at the other end-of-life care sessions are Aretha Delight Davis, MD, JD, executive director of ACP Decisions; Brad Stuart, MD, CEO, ACIStrategies; Victoria Sweet, MD, associate professor, University of California, San Francisco; Joseph Agostini, MD, national medical director, Aetna Medicare; Elizabeth Marshall, MD, director, End of Life Task Force, The Everett Clinic; and Grace Dammann, MD, medical director, Pain Clinic, Laguna Honda Hospital, San Francisco.

See the conference agenda for details.

Note to reporters: Interviews with speakers can be scheduled during and after the conference.

About the Lown Institute

The Lown Institute, a nonprofit, action-driven think tank in Boston, is dedicated to transforming the culture of medicine and building a healthcare system that is affordable, effective, personal and just. The Institute was founded by renowned cardiologist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Bernard Lown, MD, and supports his vision for compassionate healthcare. Visit and follow us on Twitter at @LownInstitute.

Margie Coloian
Director of Communications
Office: 617-992-9349