Pearls

Pearls Road Sign
  • Delivering bad news is very stressful for clinicians with the after effects lasting for hours to days.
  • Competence is a great stress reliever. The clinician who is adequately trained in communication skills is more likely to break bad news both sensitively and efficiently.
  • Hearing bad news is very stressful and distressing to patients. Patients with previous history of mental illness, patients with poor social and financial support systems are especially vulnerable to the after effects of bad news.
  • Ask before you tell: First ask the patient “What is your understanding of your illness?”
  • Deliver the bad news in simple clear sentences. Avoid jargon.
  • Arrange for follow-up care.
  • Debrief your staff and allow time for self-reflection.
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