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Communication » Breaking Bad News

Guidelines and Policies

A manual of mental health care in General Practice: Breaking Bad News Cth
Australian Government Dept. Health and Ageing
Provides six steps for breaking bad news, adapted from Buckman’s Book “How to break bad news – A guide for health care professionals”.

Communicating Positively – A guide to appropriate Aboriginal terminology NSW
NSW Health
Communicating positively’ provides NSW Health staff with guidance on appropriate language to be used when working with Aboriginal people and communities or developing policies and programs.

Communicating with Patients: Advice for Medical Practitioners Cth
NHMRC
Guidelines on how to communicate effectively with a patient including when it’s appropriate to withhold bad news, working with translators etc.

General Guidelines for Medical Practitioners on Providing Information to Patients Cth
NHMRC
Types of information doctors must discuss with patients when deciding on treatment –information patient’s should be given, informing patients of risks, and circumstances when it can be withheld.

Toolkits and Protocols

Breaking Bad News
University of Illinois College of Medicine

Breaking Bad News
University of Washington School of Medicine

Communicable Diseases
University of Illinois College of Medicine

Communicating the Diagnosis
Alzheimer Society

Communication Access Within Healthcare Environments
Patient Provider Communication

Difficult Patients
University of Illinois College of Medicine

Disclosure of Adverse Medical Events and Unanticipated Outcomes of Care [PDF]   Canada
Sunnybrook & Women’s College Health Sciences Centre
Sunnybrook & Women’s College Health Sciences Centre have developed a policy related to disclosure and reporting of error.

Doctor patient relationship
British Medical Association

Ethical dilemmas in communication and decision-making
Therapeutic Guidelines

Intellectual Disability and Health: Top 10 tips for Effective Consultation UK
Understanding Disability and health
Ten tips for communicating effectively with a patient who has an intellectual disability.

Making Decisions about Tests and Treatments: Principles for Better Communication between health care consumers and health care professionals Cth
NHMRC
Toolkit to improve communication between patients and health care professionals, includes communication about risks of treatments etc.

Open Disclosure resources for clinicians and health care providers Cth
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
Resources, templates and guideline

Truth Telling
University of Illinois College of Medicine

Papers, Reports and Books

Breaking bad news: experiences, views and difficulties of pre-registration house officers
Palliative Medicine 2005; 19: 93-/98

Breaking Bad News and Truth Disclosure in Australia in New Challenges in Communication with Cancer Patients
(Springer, 2013) 377-387
Phyllis Butow, Martin H. N. Tattersall, Josephine Clayton, David Goldstein

Breaking bad news: the patient’s viewpoint.
Munoz Sastre MT, Sorum PC, Mullet E
(2011) 27 Health Communications 7, 649-655
The objective of this study was to ascertain how patients judge the acceptability of physicians’ communication of bad news.

Clinical ethics, information, and communication: review of 31 cases from a clinical ethics committee
J Med Ethics 2005;31:73-77

Clinical practice guidelines for communicating prognosis and end-of-life issues with adults in the advanced stages of a life-limiting illness, and their caregivers
Medical Journal of Australia
Authors: Clayton et al

Ethics Commentary: Communication and Breaking Bad News
Clinical Correlations
The NYU Internal Medicine Blog – A Daily Dose of Medicine

How to break bad news: A guide for health care professionals
1992 Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press
Author: R. Buckman
Provides a method for communicating bad news. The book also provides a useful guide on basic communication skills.

Open disclosure: ethical, professional and legal obligations, and the way forward for regulation
Angus J F Finlay, Cameron L Stewart and Malcolm Parker
(2013) 198 (8) Medical Journal of Australia 445-448.

Practical Plans for Difficult Conversations
2010 Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press
Author: R. Buckman
A collection of strategies and approaches clinicians can use to effectively communicate with students. An accompanying DVD illustrates the techniques.

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