Case managers can access a free, downloadable guide about how to improve communication with families during stressful health events.

The guide, called RightConversations, offers 10 tips for effective communication, plus a communication planner, a family action planner, and an information journal.

The guide is available at:

Here are some tips on how to help plan the conversation:

• prepare to help the loved one be ready and open to the discussion;

• set realistic goals, looking at what each family member hopes to accomplish;

• identify the discussion leader and encourage others to provide moral support;

• determine the best setting in which to hold the discussion. The setting sets the tone for a comfortable conversation, which should last no more than an hour. Placing a time limit on the conversation helps to prevent it from unraveling;

• plan and practice key messages for the conversation;

• address facts and concerns;

• accept that the discussion could be difficult and be ready for it;

• use open-ended questions, which are effective in gathering information;

• thank everyone for their time;

• practice the conversation to ensure words are chosen carefully and thoughtfully.