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Supporting Patients and Families Through Honesty, Autonomy, Reflection and Empathy

Individual and Group Training For Physicians, Health Care Professionals, and Students of Medicine, Health Sciences, and Other Fields


Having end-of-life conversations is hard.

A lot is at stake. These sensitive conversations with patients and loved ones in a fragile state are remembered vividly. You know difficult news will be hard for them to accept, you fear crushing their hopes, and you don’t want them to feel abandoned. Yet, chances are your training did not prepare you.

That's why Alive Hospice created a Simulation Lab for Advance Care Planning and End-of-Life Conversations.

We can help you and your patients.

The Need

It can take many years to learn how to do it well and to feel confident. It is difficult to provide the clear information patients and families need while demonstrating compassion and alleviating fear.

Made possible with generous support from The Memorial Foundation, The Alive Institute Simulation Lab can accelerate the learning process for health care professionals and lead to better experiences for patients and families.

A goal is that the Simulation Lab will benefit a broad spectrum of health care professionals, and ultimately be accessible to the community at large.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn by doing: Work through emotionally (and sometimes medically and ethically) challenging conversations in a safe, lifelike setting
  • Hone your skills and develop a personal style to discuss end-of-life options
  • Become comfortable having these sensitive and very important discussions
  • Learn to facilitate value-based decisions through the art of meaningful and effective dialogue
  • Understand how to convey the benefits and impact of advance care planning
  • Learn how to lessen “optimism bias” and still provide hope – a different kind of hope


  • A small investment of your valuable time: a 2-hour participation process to work through numerous scenarios
  • A proven model of intentional adult learning theory
  • A clinical setting replicating a patient’s hospital bed, with videotaping for debriefing
  • Designed and facilitated by experts with decades of experience, supported by medical research
  • Conveniently located at the Alive Institute (intersection of 18th Avenue North and Patterson Street), near several local hospitals and universities


Contact our training coordinator: 615-346-8401

Learn More About One-On-On Training

Learn More About Group Training

Elderly patient talking with someone

A Great Challenge – and the Opportunity to Create Meaningful Change

In the report Dying in America (September 2014), the Institute of Medicine identified the need for greater understanding – by both the public and care professionals – as one of the greatest remaining challenges in the delivery of high-quality end-of-life care. They recognized deficiencies include insufficient attention to “developing clinicians’ ability to talk effectively to patients about dying.”

"Understanding what lies ahead can profoundly affect patients’ quality of life — and death. If they underestimate their life expectancy, they may forgo helpful treatment. If they overestimate it — the more common misperception — they may agree to tests and procedures that turn their final weeks and months into a medical treadmill.

"Frank discussions don’t disrupt the bond between doctors and patients… They do increase the likelihood that patients receive the end-of-life care they prefer, and leave survivors better able to cope with grief.”

—Paula Span, New York Times columnist

"What Doctors Know About How Bad It Is, and Won’t Say" (July 1, 2016)

Alive Institute Simulation Lab

Donated in honor of the late

Claudia Puryear

and in recognition of

The Memorial Foundation logo