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Breaking bad news

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

  • have your facts right first
  • meet in a quiet room
  • meet in the presence of relatives or staff if possible
  • use basic communication skills: use simple language, listen, follow up verbal and non-verbal cues
  • build up gradually
  • be truthful, gentle and courteous
  • offer hope
  • emphasize the positive
  • allow questions
  • may need to have a number of meetings
  • offer support
  • document and inform others of what has been said
  • follow up the patient

Source:Dr Michael Cushen, St Elizabeth Hospice, Ipswich,5/96

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