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Module 3: Analyzing Ethical Challenges in Pediatric
End-of-life Decision Making

Special Considerations of Adolescents: Truth Telling


 Facilitators Guide Download PDF  PowerPoint Download PowerPoint

Often parents, in an effort to protect their children, choose not to tell them everything there is to know about their medical condition. The purpose of this activity is to introduce the common arguments for telling adolescents the truth about their diagnosis and prognosis. The session also addresses how to handle situations in which medical professionals believe it is their professional obligation to inform the child of a dire prognosis, in spite of parental objections. It offers strategies for staying in alliance with parents and avoiding polarization.

Learning Objectives

As a result of attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the importance of respecting adolescents by disclosing information about the nature and severity of their illness to them
  • Develop strategies to assess and respond to different parental concerns and values, regarding truth telling and the involvement of their adolescent child in decision making;
  • Articulate the health care professionals' obligations and options, when parents remain adamant about their desire for nondisclosure

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