Breaking bad news can be one of the most difficult things a health professional must do. It may help to keep in mind the following when breaking bad news
- Pay attention to the physical context. Is the room comfortable and private?
- Assess the personís current emotional state. Are they frightened, anxious, distraught or angry?
- Assess the personís verbal and non-verbal responses. How do they respond to the bad news?
- Use clear, understandable language in a sensitive manner
- Assess the personís coping strategies and needs for support
- Plan future care within realistic expectations and maintain hope
More advice on how to discuss palliative care with the patient and their family can be found on the resources page.