Difficult Conversations Podcast

Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician

Episode 193 | January 2, 2024

Hope For The Best. Plan for the Rest

Dr. Samantha Winemaker

Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, Division of Palliative Care at McMaster University in Ontario

Sammy Winemaker400

In this episode, Dr. Orsini and Liz Poret-Christ are joined by guest, Dr. Samantha Winemaker, an associate clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine, Division of Palliative Care at McMaster University in Ontario, and co-author of the book, Hope for the Best, Plan for the Rest: 7 keys for navigating a life changing diagnosis. Dr. Winemaker, an advocate for open communication, emphasizes the importance of patients expressing their need for honesty in their healthcare interactions, even when it involves tough conversations. Her work in palliative care, recognized by numerous awards and her co-hosting of “The Waiting Room Revolution” podcast, reflects her dedication to improving the healthcare journey for patients. She shares her personal path into palliative care, shaped by her medical interests and her desire to move away from internal medicine. Frustrated by the healthcare system’s delayed engagement with palliative care, she calls for a change, pushing for better public mortality awareness and suggesting that providers integrate palliative skills without necessarily labeling them as such to combat societal discomfort with death.

Dr. Winemaker’s critique of the healthcare system extends to the misconceptions surrounding palliative care and the need for rebranding to reflect its comprehensive role. She argues for mandatory training in communication and palliative care skills in medical and nursing schools to ensure providers are well-equipped to support patients effectively. She shares a story about a patient with lung cancer, to highlight the importance of informed decision-making and understanding the progression of illness. This episode also features insights into the book, Hope for the Best, Plan for the Rest, which offers 7 keys for navigating life-changing diagnoses, aiming to empower patients in managing their health. Dr. Winemaker aligns with Liz’s experiences with chronic illness, agreeing that patients should feel free to request full disclosure from their physicians to mitigate the fear of the unknown. She expresses her view on dying, considering it a natural chapter of life, and hopes to live her best life until the end without fear. Dr. Winemaker also shares her goal for the podcast and book, which is to educate patients worldwide, empowering them to navigate the healthcare system effectively and to manage their illnesses with confidence and knowledge.

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