Table 1

Key Features of the Murphy's Family Meeting Model

Aspect of Model

Main Features


5 Part Paradigm:

1. Story of the Journey

- The patient speaks about their journey of illness including things that are and have been important to them and have helped them to make sense of it.

- May also include the story of other important experiences and struggles of their life.


2. Worries and Fears

- The storyteller is encouraged to speak of their worries, fears and concerns about the illness and its outcomes.


3. Speaking of Roots

- Speaking of family history, recent and not so recent.

- Allowing the pains and the joys to be openly expressed.


4. The Family Speaks

- Each person present has the opportunity to tell the story of their journey in relation to their loved one's illness

- They speak of their history together as they have experienced it and have the opportunity to respond to what others have said.


5. The Closing or Blessing

- Bringing the meeting to a close in a manner appropriate for the family (may or may not include ritual with religious connotations).

- It may be an opportunity for each person to say one thing that they value most about the person who is dying.


The 3 Main Roles:


1. The Storyteller

- The one who speaks - everyone takes a turn (1 at a time)


2. Witness(es)

- The ones who listen preferably without judgement or interpretation - everyone else who is present


3. The Facilitator or Guide

- Supports, guides and moves the meeting along with the use of probe questions if necessary e.g. "Would you like to say more about that?" or "How did you feel about that?"


Tan et al. BMC Palliative Care 2011 10:7   doi:10.1186/1472-684X-10-7

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