Communication Guidelines

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

  1. Pay attention to the physical context. Is the room comfortable and private?
  2. Assess the personís current emotional state. Are they frightened, anxious, distraught or angry?
  3. Assess the personís verbal and non-verbal responses. How do they respond to the bad news?
  4. Use clear, understandable language in a sensitive manner
  5. Assess the personís coping strategies and needs for support
  6. 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.