Delivering Bad News

Breaking bad news about a serious life limiting illness or a chronic life altering illness and supporting patients as they progress through the illness process is arguably one the most stressful activities any clinician must perform. However, most clinicians do not receive any formal training on how to break bad news and skillfully conduct crucial conversations with patients and families.

Examples of Illnesses



Life-limiting serious illnesses
  • cancer,
  • hematological malignancies,
  • advanced heart disease of any etiology,
  • advanced lung disease of any etiology,
  • advanced neurological disease of any etiology,
  • advanced renal disease of any etiology,
  • advanced liver disease of any etiology and
  • Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome
Life-altering chronic illnesses
  • diabetes,
  • hypertension,
  • rheumatologic illnesses (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia),
  • chronic heart failure,
  • coronary heart disease,
  • cirrhosis, chronic renal failure,
  • chronic lung diseases (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis)


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