PATH Clinic Principles

The PATH Clinic follows four key principles in its work with patients and families:

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

Focus on the big picture

  • Doctors must look at what’s 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 person’s illnesses and potential treatments interact, so they recommend only those steps that will help to improve or maintain overall health

Carefully explore the risks and benefits

  • The best health care decisions are made after full consideration of the long term 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 news is hard for doctors to give, and many do not want to take away hope, they must provide complete and honest information about what the future holds. We believe that patients and families can only plan appropriately if they know how severe an illness is, how it will progress, and how it may shorten life

Ask the right questions

  • We believe that taking an organized approach to decisions making, we can help patients and their families learn how to make more carefully considered decisions about what treatments they may or may not want to accept. We will provide you with questions to ask that will allow you to weight the risks and benefits of potential treatments. Although we cannot predict every future decision that you may face, if you choose to join us on the PATH, we will walk you through a program that will teach you the skills you need to make decisions for yourself or your family member now and in the future