Doctor-patient discussions about medical decision-making can be improved, according to a commentary and four studies in JAMA Internal Medicine, one of which found kidney patients at two dialysis centers rarely were told their prognoses or transplant eligibility. Palliative specialist and study author Dr. Melissa Wachterman said such discussions are difficult but the information is beneficial because without it patients tend to overestimate the time they have left. "I think -- in the long term -- having this kind of information can actually give people hope and the ability to plan," Wachterman said.

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