In the setting of incurable cancer… over time most of us learn about the more important things versus the not-so-important things. Hugs from grandchildren are more important than the risk of infections…. an overseas holiday is more important than completing that last infusion of chemotherapy.
It is so important to take a proper social history – who is at home with the patient, spouse (lives along or not), who supports the patient. Do children support their parents – or just weekend hellos?
We learn over time that we as humans take social issues to be vital.