Serious Illness Conversation Guide

Part of the initiative formerly known as Honoring Choice Pacific Northwest

The Serious Illness Conversation Guide is a tool that helps clinicians understand their patients’ goals and values and incorporate them in clinical decision-making. The person-centered questions in the guide explore:

  • A patient’s understanding of their illness,
  • their preferences for information,
  • their personal goals,
  • their fears and worries, as well as their sources of strength,
  • the abilities they find most important to their daily life and the tradeoffs they are willing to take for the possibility of more time, and
  • how much the people who matter to the patient know about their wishes.

Participants will gain communication skills using the Serious Illness Conversation Guide through a practice-based approach that involves both independent and group learning.

Teaching the Serious Illness Conversation Guide

Trained Serious Illness Conversation Guide (SICG) Teachers may download materials for their own trainings. Once downloaded, you may make changes for your organization.

Click here to access the materials.
This SharePoint site is password-protected. Please reach out to Mitha for the password.

A network contact list can be found in the SharePoint link above.

Deep Dive Skills Modules

These modules are under development.

  1. Making Values-Based Recommendations Part 1
  2. Making Values-Based Recommendations Part 2 (WISH tool)
  3. Interprofessional Recommendations (Coming Soon)
  4. Translating Values into POLST Recommendations (Serious Illness Care Coalition Live Webinar coming soon)

Other Resources

Serious Illness Conversation Guide – modified for Washington State.

Ariadne Labs – visit Ariadne Labs Serious Illness page for more resources and updates.

ARIA – Aria is a free online platform providing tools, resources, and community to support the successful implementation of Ariadne Labs solutions.

VitalTalk Apps – explore additional resources for serious illness communication.

POLST – visit the WSMA website for resources on POLST, including the POLST Toolkit.

Related Topics


Contact Us

Washington State Hospital Association
999 Third Avenue
Suite 1400
Seattle, WA 98104

Map / Directions

206.281.7211 phone
206.283.6122 fax

Staff List